Planning Ahead for Better Choices

A field of flowers represents the many possibilities that planning ahead provides

Making the decision to move into a senior living community can be difficult, especially given the challenges created by the pandemic. Communities are working hard to keep their residents safe from COVID-19, but some people may have concerns about being able to visit with family members, or about travel and outside events. While many seniors are still moving into the living communities of their choice right now, big decisions deserve consideration. That has lead some seniors to defer a move, wait a little while, and plan ahead before finalizing their decision.

Taking a pause, if it makes sense for you or your loved one, can be a great opportunity for more research. Planning ahead always results in better options. There are several reasons why: Planning can seem like a chore, so even a little planning puts you ahead of the crowd, since many people would rather avoid it. Making choices is easier when you’re not under pressure, too. Finally, changing a plan you already have is easier than trying to make a plan when you need one.

Plan Ahead of the Crowd

Although planning may seem like an unpleasant task, having a plan creates more confidence about the future. That is a big benefit to anyone who puts in the work to plan ahead. Well-prepared people can get access to better choices than those who haven’t spent time putting a plan together. This applies to everything from showing up early at a movie theater to get the best seats to planning for something as important as moving into a senior living community. If you want the best options available, you need to plan ahead. Putting it off means you’re likely to end up sitting all the way in the back of the theater. The equivalent for seniors could be missing out on getting a private room and ending up in a shared room or being put on a waiting list.

Planning ahead has its merits, so why would people avoid it? One of the biggest reasons is that planning can be a very complicated process. Our minds are great at solving problems, but they prefer solving easy problems first. “Make a plan about where to move” sounds daunting because it’s a big task with many parts. The trick, of course, is to break it down into smaller problems, like “make a list of senior living communities near me.” That is step towards the feeling of satisfaction that comes from having a good plan. It’s a simple way to start putting a plan together, which in turn gives us access to better choices.

Avoid the Pressure

Planning ahead also leads to better choices because it makes the process of choosing much less stressful. Spending time considering which option to pick is much easier than having to make a last-minute decision in the face of a crisis. Stress narrows our focus and makes us shortsighted. Instead of spending the time to find the best option, we usually go for the quickest way away from the source of stress. That intense focus works well in a dangerous situation, like driving through a snowstorm, but might not end up being helpful for life decisions like choosing where to live. Those deserve more consideration. Planning ahead means you don’t get stuck making those important decisions on short notice and under stress.

Plan for Changes

One critique of planning ahead is that the world changes too much for a plan to help. The world does change a lot, but that doesn’t make plans futile. In fact, good plans can help even more when situations change. Planning, when done right, puts us in a great frame of mind to address problems as they arise.

What does it take to make a good plan? Good plans need to be flexible. They should address the big picture without getting too bogged down in details. It’s usually those details that change, so spending a lot of time addressing them is what leads extensive plans to feel counterproductive. Instead of trying to check off every box on the list of “to-do” items, use your planning time to put a team together. Give each person responsibility for a category or two.

For example, if your brother is an accountant, ask him to be responsible for keeping track of bills, savings, and retirement funds. If you sister is a doctor, she would be well-suited to managing medications and reviewing current living situations. Approaching plans this way addresses all necessary items but leaves lots of room for adjustment.

Planning Ahead with Senior Living Communities

Planning ahead may be difficult, but it’s definitely worth it. Better plans lead to more choices and better results. Planning sets us apart from those who don’t take the time to plan. Planning ahead also makes it easier to avoid stress, and plans can give us a helpful framework for responding to change. Important decisions, like where to live, deserve plenty of time for consideration. Even if you don’t want to move right now, taking the time to reach out to your favorite communities will set you on the right path. You’ll be ahead of the crowd, avoiding the pressure of choosing one suddenly, and you’ll be ready to adapt should any changes in your circumstances arise.

Take Advantage of Our Virtual Tour

Gathering information is a crucial part of planning. Unfortunately, getting the information you need can often be an arduous process. We’ve put together a virtual tour so that it’s easy for you to see inside our facility.

Click here to request a virtual tour.

Or, feel free to call us if you have any questions: 315-462-3140

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