What to Ask about Personal Care in Senior LivingWhat to Ask about Personal Care in Senior Living Communities Communities

Here’s a topic you may not think about while you’re helping your parents find a senior community: beauty and grooming. Salon services and spa treatments may seem a little frivolous compared to licensing, certification, and the community’s menus, but a little help with self-care and a regular personal-care regimen can help seniors feel better, enjoy richer social lives, and even maintain their health. To find a senior living community that supports these goals, ask these questions about personal care services.

Where do residents get their hair done?

Many senior communities, from independent living complexes to nursing homes, have on-site salons. Depending on the size of the community, the salon or salons may be open daily or just one or two days a week. If there’s a salon on site, ask to see a service list with prices. Most salons offer haircuts for men and women plus color, permanents, and styling options.

Ask how far in advance your parents need to book their appointments, and find out if they can set up standing appointments. In some communities, residents meet one day a week to get their hair done, catch up on the latest news, and get ready for the weekend.

Can residents get manicures and pedicures?

Mani/pedis aren’t just for looking good. Our nails can thicken as we age, which makes DIY nail care more of a challenge. Pedicures—even without nail polish—are a must for seniors with foot problems and those who don’t have the flexibility and dexterity to do their own toenails. Proper nail care and regular trims can reduce the likelihood of painfully long nails, ingrown nails, and corns or calluses that can lead to pain, an awkward gait, and perhaps a fall. Diabetics can also benefit from regular footcare and nail trims, as long as the nail technician understands the special needs of diabetic feet.

Are other grooming services available?

The community salon may also offer men’s shaving and beard trims and women’s brow and lip waxing, along with special-occasion hair and makeup. Some communities also have onsite spas where residents can choose from a variety of massage and skincare treatments.

What’s available in the neighborhood?

If a community you otherwise like doesn’t have an onsite salon or doesn’t offer the services your parents want, ask if there are salons nearby and transportation available to get your folks there. Most communities offer regularly scheduled group transportation to local shops. You may also be able to hire a taxi for your folks to enjoy a spa day or a touch-up at the salon.

What if your parents have a stylist or barber they’re devoted to and they wouldn’t dream of switching but it’s hard for them to get out anymore? If the community they want to move into has a salon onsite, you may be able to hire your parents’ preferred beautician to come to them—with the facility’s OK. This won’t be the cheapest option, because you’ll be paying for the salon service plus gas and travel time, but it might be worth it.

Want to know that the country’s best assisted living communities offer their residents? Explore the SeniorAdvisor.com Best of 2017 Senior Living Awards, based on resident and family reviews.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance writer whose childhood was made awesome by her grandmothers, great-grandmother, great-aunts and -uncles, and their friends.

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