By Sue Sveum
If you’ve ever considered senior living for yourself, a spouse or a parent, you’re sure to have noticed that senior communities have come a long way. These are not the old folks’ homes of generations past. Today’s senior living options are full of life.
Many senior communities offer several levels of living. Active seniors can choose an apartment where they’re totally independent, while other residents may require more care. At Noel Manor Living in Verona, the range of options includes independent living, assisted living and “closer care” at The Legacy (for residents with dementia and higher-level needs).
While care options such as managed medication, assistance with personal care, laundry and housekeeping are definitely an important part of choosing a senior care community, the atmosphere at Noel Manor is closer to a nice resort than a hospital-like setting.
Mealtime is an event. “Every Friday evening, we have happy hour with live music,” says Kirstin Bowns, executive director at Noel Manor. She adds that meals are served restaurant style and residents can order from a standing menu or choose one of the daily specials.
Every Wednesday, wine lovers gather for wine, popcorn and great conversation. Trivia nights, card games and bingo are other popular events held regularly. And for those wanting a little change of scenery, Bowns says Noel Manor sometimes offers scenic drives that “folks absolutely love!”
Independent and assisted living apartments are available in several different sizes. All offer private bathrooms with walk-in showers and built-in safety bars — a popular feature with residents. Laundry and linen services, housekeeping, cable, Wi-Fi and heated underground parking are also included.
And why leave home when there’s an on-site beauty salon, barber shop and a fitness center that offers classes five days a week? Movie buffs love the movie theater where there’s a daily showing, featuring different movies each night along with weekend matinees.
Sounds great, right? But moving from your own home to senior living (especially if you don’t know anyone) can still produce feelings of anxiety. That’s normal, and you aren’t alone. “We have a welcoming committee that ensures residents don’t sit alone at meals and that they feel included when they arrive in all our common spaces and activities,” explains Bowns. And each resident decorates a small space outside of their apartment to showcase themselves and their families.
“There’s always something going on, but we also encourage folks to come and go as they please,” says Bowns. “We’re a truly a diverse, friendly, and welcoming community with a wide range of personalities. Folks with varying interests that like to be a part of a community atmosphere would love it here.”
Just keep in mind that senior living isn’t one-size-fits-all. Bowns advises that you, as a prospective resident, consider what’s the most important thing to you. Then ask lots of questions regarding your needs and wants to find that right fit.
“This is your home and your community,” she stresses. “It should feel comfortable and bring you joy.”