Everything You Wanted to Know About Senior Living Waitlists but Were Too Afraid to Ask

There’s a saying that “good things come to those who wait.” Most of us have experienced making reservations well in advance to see a hit play or to get into a popular restaurant. But should you expect to have to wait to move into a retirement community?

In the case of an in demand Life Plan Community — like Timber Ridge at Talus — that offers an engaging lifestyle, plan for the future, desirable floor plan or services and amenities you’re looking for, they sometimes have a senior living waitlist

When it comes to something as vital as planning the next decades of your life, you’ll want to have everything figured out sooner rather than later. So when you find an option that fits your needs, make sure you’re ready. Even if that means joining a waitlist for a senior living community

Why Should I Join a Waitlist?

According to a 2020 study by the Administration for Community Living, about 16% of the U.S. population is over 65, and by 2040, that’s expected to grow to 21.6%. The population of people 85 and over is projected to increase by 118% to 14.4 million by 2040. So as the senior population grows, so will the need for senior housing. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to start looking into senior living communities now because it could take months or even a year for an opening at the most popular communities and for their most desirable floor plans. 

Benefits of Joining a Senior Living Waitlist

Sign up for your floor plan choice.

Some residence options are going to fit your lifestyle, budget and furniture better than others. Planning ahead allows you to wait for the one you want, rather than having to take the first available floor plan.

You’ll have time to prepare.

If you’ve found your ideal community, knowing when you’re likely to move allows you to lock in your spot and to start downsizing at a more relaxed and thoughtful pace. This can help reduce your stress when the time to move does come.

Get to know the community.

In some communities, joining a waitlist can give you a chance to experience the lifestyle and meet your future neighbors before you move in. There may even be extra perks that can include dining at the community and attending special events. Once you do move in, you’ll feel much more connected to the community, people and staff.

You’ll have a plan in place for future care. 

While an active and engaging independent living community is probably your main reason to move, choosing a Life Plan Community like Timber Ridge gives you a smart plan for tomorrow.

That way, if ever needed, you’ll have access to a full continuum of on-site care including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and senior rehabilitation. And our LifeCare® contract means our higher levels of care are available for about the same monthly service fee.

Questions to Ask Before Joining a Senior Living Waitlist

Is there a cost to join?

There can be a fee associated with joining a community’s waitlist, which sometimes applies towards your entrance fee.

Is there a penalty for canceling my spot?

Most communities will happily refund your waitlist fee, although they may charge a nominal administration fee. 

What if I’m not ready to move when a spot opens up?

Typically, communities will let you pass on an opportunity, but be sure to check. You also need to weigh how long you’ve waited and how long you may have to continue to wait before you decide.

What if I change my mind on my preferred floor plan?

If you decide you want more or less space, let the community know. It’s possible they could have an immediate opening for your new preference.

What if my health needs change while I’m on the waitlist?

The answer to this question is dependent upon the community. It’s also one of the reasons you don’t want to wait too long before selecting a community. 

I’m on the waitlist, what happens next? 

Your community should be able to give you an estimate of how long you’ll have to wait. It’s also a good idea to check in from time to time to see if anything’s changed. Once you’re on a waitlist, you can start downsizing and making a list of projects to do before you list your home. 

Top Senior Living Community Amenities to Look for

As you review your senior living options, here are some services and amenities to look for that are sure to enhance your quality of life. 

Multiple dining venues

Do they have restaurant-style dining? A place to grab a quick coffee, drink or meal? Selecting a community with multiple dining options gives you more menu choices.

Health and wellness options.

If staying physically active is a vital part of your lifestyle, check to see if the community has a fitness center, swimming pool, group fitness classes and a personal trainer. Some communities also have walking trails, putting greens and other activity amenities. 

Space to get creative.

Retirement can be an excellent time to revive a beloved hobby or learn a new skill. Most communities have classes and a creative arts studio to allow you to follow your interests. If gardening is a passion, some even have designated raised gardening beds where you grow into your hobby.

Entertainment options. 

What does their activity calendar look like? Are there lots of movie nights, musical performances, happy hours, guest speakers, clubs and committees? Do they have a game/card room? 

Places to socialize.

Your community choice should have lots of areas for residents to socialize. Make sure they have a cocktail lounge and other comfortable lounge areas where you can relax and talk with your neighbors. 

Lifelong learning opportunities.

Are you curious and enjoy learning new things? How does the community you’re considering encourage you to grow and learn? Do they offer educational classes or have a library? 

Find What You’ve Been Looking for at Timber Ridge

If you’ve started weighing your senior living options, consider Timber Ridge. We offer an elevated senior living lifestyle in Issaquah, Washington. To learn more or to schedule a tour, contact us here.