The Importance of Joining a Waitlist at a Senior Living Community 

The search for a senior living community that’s a good fit for you or a loved one involves many factors, from understanding the pricing structure to evaluating the community’s services and amenities. It’s usually a decision that takes time. Planning ahead is the key.

If you wait until you’re actually ready to move to start the search, you might find yourself settling for a community that isn’t a top choice. Or an older loved one might be forced to transition to one senior living community while waiting for space to open up at another. Moving twice is tough at any age, but especially for an older adult.

May is National Moving Month, so named because it serves as a kickoff to the summer moving season. For everyone from families looking to move before the start of a new school year to older adults trying to take advantage of good weather to make a change, it’s a popular time of year to list a house and settle down somewhere new.

What older adults and their families might not be aware of is that many of the leading senior living communities often have waitlists. Since some are longer than others, the expected wait time may be an important consideration when timing a move.

5 Reasons to Join a Senior Living Community Waitlist

There are many reasons to join the waitlist at one or two of the senior living communities that seem to meet your needs and interests. Here are some of the leading considerations:

  • Ensure a place at your top choice: By finding a senior living community or two that feel like a good fit before you are ready to move, you’ll be well-positioned for whatever the future holds. By contrast, if you wait until you are ready for an immediate move or a crisis occurs, your only options will be communities with current openings.
  • Get your choice of floor plan: Some senior living communities also give people on their waitlist the option of designating specific models. For example, if you want a two-bedroom apartment or villa, you’ll be able to join the waitlist for those styles.
  •  Jump-start downsizing efforts: One barrier to moving for some older adults is the vagueness of moving “someday.” They tell themselves they’ll get around to cleaning out the basement or making necessary repairs when it’s time to list their house for sale. By joining a waitlist, you might find the motivation to get organized and begin working on a solid plan for the future.
  • Gain peace of mind: Another reason to consider joining a senior living community waitlist is peace of mind. Deciding on a few top choices will allow you to get the community you want and the level of care you need. That will allow you to relax and enjoy your retirement years.
  • Get to know people: One perk of signing up for a senior living community’s waitlist is the chance to participate in on-campus events. A future resident and their adult children will have an opportunity to get to know current residents and the community’s team members. That helps decrease anxiety when moving day finally arrives.

Once you or a senior loved one has made the decision to join the waitlists for a few of their top choices of senior living communities, there are several questions you’ll want to be sure to ask. The checklist below will help you make an informed decision.

Questions to Ask About Senior Living Community Waitlists

  • Model-specific waitlist: Can you be on a waitlist for a specific floor plan or unit? If not, is there a three-strike rule? That means if someone on the waitlist turns down an opening three times, they will be dropped from the list. That answer can impact planning.
  • Current-resident priority: Ask if current residents have priority when openings occur. Most communities call these internal waitlists. In some cases, seniors might consider moving to a community of choice when a unit becomes available, and then getting on the internal waitlist for a particular apartment or villa.
  • Decision time frame: After being notified of an opening, how long will you have to commit or decline? Many communities require an answer within 24 hours. While you’ll generally have an idea about where you are on the waitlist, it can still come as a surprise if everyone ahead of you turns down an opening and you are suddenly at the top of the list.
  • Deposit refunds: Finally, you should expect to make a deposit to be placed on a waitlist. The question you need to ask is whether it is refundable, should you change your mind. This is especially important if you plan to make a deposit with more than one community.

Contact Eagle Senior Living for Support with the Search

If you or a family are planning ahead, we invite you to contact us. The team at Eagle Senior Living has the experience necessary to answer all of your questions about senior living options and help you make a thoughtful decision.