When you bought your first home, the floor plan is something that you undoubtedly took into consideration. Did the kitchen flow smoothly into the dining room and living room, allowing you to entertain family and guests with ease? What about the location and number of bedrooms or bathrooms?
As you consider making the move from an independent home to a suitable senior living community, you should be thinking about senior living floor plans, among many other considerations. Though it may seem insignificant to some, floor plans can make a difference between comfortable accommodations and uncomfortable housing that does not suit your lifestyle.
What Features of Floor Plans are Important?
There are a number of important factors to keep focused on when comparing the floor plans of different senior living communities. On a grand scale, you want to look at the overall floor plan of the residence. Are the apartments or suites located on one end of the building, with community program rooms, dining areas, and medical service rooms located on the opposite end? Or does the setup centralize those latter features, and spread senior living rooms around those centrally located areas?
When it comes to specific room floor plans, you'll want to think about everything from room layout and size, to the windows, its location in the building, and option to keep pets. For example, if you struggle with mobility, an upper-level room far from major areas in the community would be more challenging.
Even with elevators and wheelchairs, living in an apartment or room located far from major amenities makes participation in community events and even eating a daunting task. Beyond these considerations, don't forget to take into account the atmosphere. Does the floor plan remind you of a hospital room, or a true home? Anything and everything that comes to mind is important to take into consideration. You want and need to feel at home, not uncomfortable.
Questions to Ask about Floor Plans
As you tour a senior living community, don't be shy in asking questions of a representative about the available senior living floor plans.
- How many different floor plans are available?
- Are there multi-bedroom floor plans? What about companion suites?
- Do all rooms have kitchens or kitchenettes?
- Are all rooms private? What about bathrooms?
- Where are available rooms located within the greater floor plan of the community?
- Where are laundry facilities located?
- Do all floor plans accommodate electric scooters or wheelchairs?
- Is additional storage space available if the room is too small to accommodate household goods?
- Can I customize my apartment or suite?
- Are guest rooms available on-site? (If you live in a different state than your children)
Why are Floor Plans Important?
The floor plan at the senior living community you are considering is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, that senior living residence is going to be your new home. If you were buying a new home, you wouldn't sacrifice on the floor plan just to get into a new home. You would select the home for sale with a floor plan that met your lifestyle.
As such, you should look for senior living floor plans that match your lifestyle as a retired adult. Whether you have mobility issues or not, you want to live in a place with a floor plan that is simple to follow, features wide-open spaces for easy navigation, ramps, handrails, elevators, and other handicap accessible features.
Even the little things in the floor plan are important. Cupboards and shelves should be in easy-to-reach locations so you don't jeopardize your health just to enjoy your morning cup of coffee. A good senior living community has a floor plan that takes into account all manner of amenities, from non-skid floors and firm carpets that provide stability to good natural lighting and clearly marked emergency exits.
When you tour a senior living community, keep these factors in mind, and never be afraid to ask a residence representative about floor plan features that make living in that community safer for you, both physically and emotionally.