The Square
News and perspectives from Covia.

If you are considering moving to a Senior Living Community – but not just yet – there’s another option available to you: joining a waiting list.

Too often, people start looking for senior living options after a need arises, leaving them scrambling for the first available option, even if it isn’t what they truly want. You may be thinking that a move to a Life Plan Community is something that will happen 2, 3, 5 or more years down the line. It’s still worth taking steps now so that when the time comes, you’ll get what you want.

Of course visiting in person is an important part of the process. Each community has a different personality. Getting to know a community, asking your questions, and meeting other residents makes it more likely you will choose a place that feels like home.

But if you’ve come to the event, taken the tour, and still think it’s not the right time to move, joining the community’s waiting list gives you the chance to consider the pros and cons while reserving your place for the residence you want.

“A waiting list is a terrific opportunity to secure your future plans without a large commitment of time or money,” says Linda McMenamin, Covia’s Senior Director of Sales and Marketing. “Often people will join wait lists at multiple communities to ensure they have options in the event their needs change and they are ready to make a move.”

Joining a waiting list at the community – or communities – of your choice has other benefits as well.

If you do decide to put down a deposit, be sure to ask how long the waiting list is for the home style you’d like, and what the expected waiting time is. Many times, larger homes have longer waiting lists, which may affect your plans. Talk with your senior living counselor about your plans and timeline and they will do their best to accommodate you.

Some communities may have a limit on the number of times you can turn down an apartment offered to you without losing your place on the waiting list. Although you are not obligated to accept a home presented to you, this may mean that eventually you won’t be the first person called.

But when you do get the call for the home you want, at the time you want it, you can feel comfort and confidence knowing the plan you’ve put in place is working as you hoped.

San Francisco Towers resident Claude Lowen offered the opening reflection at this year’s LeadingAge California Annual Conference and Expo, held in Pasadena May 7-9, 2018.

I am reflecting from a somewhat different position than the more usual perspective offered at LeadingAge meetings – the outlook of an octogenarian who has been a CCRC resident for eight years.  In this, I hope that Proverbs 20:29 is correct in saying that “The glory of youths is their strength, but the majesty of old men is their gray hair.”

For CCRC residents like me, “long term” has a different meaning than it used to, but when involved in community affairs we still try to plan for others coming after us, even if we won’t directly benefit from the improvements we are working for. 

Our life as residents is distinct in that it is essentially without power within the community, while we are at the same time exceptionally dependent on the spirit of obligation and stewardship of others.  Residents face uncertainties in costs of care, the future of government funding, and the outlook for skilled nursing availability.  The passage to a more powerless and dependent life has been a stormy one for some residents, and this has created some burdens for you as care providers.  

We are in a time, in senior care as well as all other walks of life, when many are proposing answers, answers often not requested but nonetheless forcefully expressed, but fewer are asking the necessary questions and even fewer are willing to listen first.  As a resident member of the LeadingAge California Board of Directors, I have seen that LeadingAge has been asking the necessary questions and is listening to the answers it is hearing.

You, LeadingAge and the senior services providers of California, are the people we residents are relying on, whether because of physical or mental necessity or simply by contract.  These are demanding jobs, calling for great commitment, and often involve more stress and less compensation than employment elsewhere.  It is noteworthy that many providers have a religious foundation, including my own, which began life in the mid-nineteenth century as the Protestant Episcopal Old Ladies Home.  It has since relaxed its admission policy.

I have looked for a pithy saying to close my reflection, and the quotation, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care,” attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, fits the challenges and obligations assumed by LeadingAge and the entire elder care community.  A more personal aspiration was my mother’s frequently expressed measure of a person – wisdom.  For her, the measure of success was not wealth, public acclaim or personal popularity, but wisdom, and her judgment that a person had no wisdom was a severe rebuke.  I believe that the efforts of everyone at LeadingAge and all of you at our communities are meeting that test, and hope that you will continue to strive to do so.  I and all residents of our communities are relying on you and I am confident that you will.