What a year 2021 was for all of us and especially for those in senior living communities.  When everything shut down in March 2020, senior living had to pivot and activate their emergency plans to keep their residents safe.  

Did you know that in-person visits are happening again in senior living communities? Did you know that 97% of residents and staff in these communities have been vaccinated against Covid? That they are safer now than ever?  

Covid deaths in the Southwest, according to AARP studies, were substantially lower compared to the rest of the country. Covid restrictions, population in communities and local leadership all contributed to these lower numbers. All through the Front Range and throughout Colorado, senior living communities did an amazing job keeping their residents safe.  

If you or a loved one needs to move to a senior living community, the easiest, least stressful way find the community that works best for you or your loved one is to work with an experienced, competent, professional placement agent who is knowledgeable about facilities in their area and typically cost you nothing. These agents know the history of every community, their management, and the owners—and what happens beyond the lobby. 

And most importantly, each community’s track record in serving older Coloradans. In other words, an expert who can narrow down your search and offer insight that is relevant to your situation. 

Or would you rather set off on this journey on your own with no background knowledge, knowing no one, wasting huge amounts of your time? If you start your search online, here is what you are likely to find:

  • An online agent, who may or may not be local, will contact you
  • You will be contacted by a dozen communities who may or may not be a good fit financially or meet your care needs 
  • The online referral agent may not have vetted or even visited communities
  • You are required to do the leg work without a neutral party
  • Your contact information may be sold

The Greater Denver Placement and Referral Alliance (GDPRA) was created in 2018 to help avoid these problems; to educate the public about Professional Placement Agents. Even though placement agents have been around for over 15 years, many families do not know this service exists.  Placement and Referral agents specialize in helping families find appropriate senior living options. GDPRA agents provide hands-on assistance for your unique situation. The agent members adhere to Best Practices and a code of ethics. Working with a GDPRA agent offers peace of mind.

You may worry that using an expert will be expensive. The good news is that a placement agent is typically compensated by selected communities. Placement agents do not typically charge a placement fee to the consumer.

What to look for in a local professional placement agent

  • An agent who meets with you and/or your loved one in-person 
  • Thoughtfully assesses your care needs, budget, location, and social needs
  • Vets the quality of care for communities
  • Walks beside you through the entire process

The benefits of using a local placement agent

  • Determines what are your best options based on their considerable experience in the area. 
  • Alleviates the stress of making dozens of phone calls to communities that don’t fit your needs
  • Saves you time by touring with you and helping ask the right questions
  • Acts as a neutral party during the decision making
  • Helps with a smoother transition by connecting you with local resources

We understand that organizing and conducting the search for senior living can take a considerable amount of time and research. Local agents are available to save you time and relieve the pressure.

Submitted by Cindy Koch, Founder, Aging at 5280 – www.agingat5280.com

Cindy is a Certified Placement and Referral Specialist