It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are upon us and everyone is brimming with anticipation as they happily prepare for family festivities. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the company of our friends and loved ones — it’s also the perfect time to check in on the important seniors in our lives, whether it be our parents or other loved ones.

Tyler Yagi, director of sales for Sagewood at Daybreak, says it’s important to check in on the seniors in your life to be sure they are faring well. You should consider the following questions: How much socialization is your loved one getting? What does their day-to-day schedule look like? Are they sitting at home all day? How much purpose do they really have in their life? And, most importantly, how safe are they at home alone?

If the answers to these questions come up short and your family decides that it may be time to consider a move to senior living, here are five important topics to address with prospective communities:

What size are the accommodations, and do they open from the inside or outside?

At Sagewood, all apartments open from the inside, creating one large community with three different “neighborhoods” — independent living, assisted living and memory care. Apartments in assisted living and memory care are 450 and 630 square feet for a studio a one-bedroom, respectively.

“Often times, residents who have memory loss, or are in the early- to mid-phase of dementia prefer a smaller space because it’s not as overwhelming to them,” says Yagi.

Independent living apartments start at 595 and go up to 1,450 square feet for a studio and a two-bed/two-bath unit, respectively.

What type of enrichment activities are offered?

Sagewood’s fitness centers offer aerobics classes and special “sit n’ fit” classes for those who are less mobile. They also offer an art studio with painting classes, pottery classes and ceramics. On most days, the community offers educational speakers on a variety of topics. There’s also a daily afternoon social, where families are invited to participate.

“We all have our physical, emotional and spiritual needs and we still want to learn,” Yagi said. “All of our activities are built around that.”

Does the community provide ample common space for visits from friends and family?

Yagi says his favorite room in the community is the family room. “If friends and family want to come and visit, residents can reserve the room for free anytime they want,” he said.

The family room, complete with kitchen area for cooking meals, allows Sagewood residents to continue their traditions of hosting friends and family for the holidays, birthdays or any other occasion worth celebrating. 

What kind of dining is offered?

Sagewood uses only fresh, locally-purchased ingredients and offers all residents a choice of daily specials, or they can order from the “always available” menu. Assisted living and memory care residents receive three meals a day, plus snacks, while independent living has their choice of 62 meals per month. The dining room is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., so residents independent living residents can dine whenever they prefer.

“I encourage people to go and try the food,” said Yagi. “If you’re to be living there, go try it.”

Do you provide transportation?

Residents at Sagewood can schedule individual transportation on the community’s wheelchair-accessible shuttle for any reason: doctor’s appointments, visiting loved ones, or even just to meet friends for dinner. Sagewood also schedules regular transportation to a wide variety of activities around the community, such as plays at Hale Center Theatre, scenic drives and shopping excursions.

Yagi says it’s important to visit several different communities before making a decision. He suggests that families ask to meet with the executive director and head nurse at each of them, because “it all starts there and trickles down.”

He offers this additional advice that he shares with his own friends and family:

“As you walk into these communities, count the smiles,” he says. “Does the staff look happy? Do the residents look happy? Follow your gut — if you have a good feeling about a community, go for it.”

To experience the smiles at Sagewood for yourself, visit lifeatsagewood.com or call 801-515-4663.