A Wise Choice: Consider These Factors When Deciding on Senior Living Community

June 10, 2020


By Terrie M. Roberts

Betty Mayo knew shortly after her husband Bob’s passing last year, she needed a change. It was time to move from the family home and give up all the responsibility of its upkeep and begin life anew.

She wanted to be around people her age, to build relationships with new friends in an environment that helped her maintain her well-being longer. For the most part, she wanted amenities and services that made her life easier, but as someone still independent she wanted a lifestyle indistinguishable from what she experienced before she moved.

Mayo chose The Oaks of Louisiana, Shreveport’s premier retirement community operated by Willis-Knighton Health System. “I am quite pleased and very happy,” she says.

Choosing a retirement or senior living community can be one of the biggest decisions made in a lifetime.

Therefore, the decision should be well planned and well thought out, says Lisa Naquin, Oaks leasing specialist.

“It isn’t easy for someone to decide to move from a home they might have lived in for decades to a retirement community,” Naquin says. “In fact, many say they aren’t ready to make that decision despite the challenges maintaining their home at their age poses. Yet almost all who move here say they wish they’d moved sooner.”

Residents seek retirement communities for a variety of reasons. Most are tired of home upkeep and want freedom from household chores. They want more social interaction and the safety and security a retirement community provides.

“It’s important to know choosing a retirement community involves more than simply choosing a floor plan,” Naquin says. “Do your homework and make an informed decision. Retirement communities are not one-size-fits-all and vary in which services are offered and the level of care available.”

Most senior adults who move to The Oaks are primarily concerned with amenities and lifestyle. They want to continue living full active lives without the worry and headaches of home maintenance in an environment that supports and enhances their independence and quality of life. That The Oaks offers assisting living and skilled nursing living options provides them peace of mind knowing different levels of care are available as their needs change. 

“There are several factors that are crucial when choosing a community,” Naquin points out.


Consider the type of lifestyle you want. Active? Relaxed?

The Oaks of Louisiana is purposefully designed with a focus on total wellness.  Programs offered nourish the components critical to good health: physical, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, vocational and environmental. 

“We offer a lifestyle that offers a variety of ways to stay connected to others and engaged in life,” Naquin says. “Social isolation and loneliness are risks for those who choose to age in place and stay in their homes.”

At The Oaks, residents enjoy lifelong learning opportunities, health and wellness programs, fitness classes, spiritual programs and Bible studies, cultural programs, socials, book reviews, and off-campus trips, among others.

Residents can choose to be as active and involved as they want to be, she says.


What does a community offer to help you live the life you want to lead? Amenities and services distinguish great communities from adequate ones, Naquin says. “Not all have a spa and wellness center with indoor pool, gardens, theater, ballroom, art studio, library, billiard room, salon, pub and concierge like we have at The Oaks.”

When visiting retirement communities, ask about dining venues, housekeeping and linen services, security, salons, scheduled transportation, activities, fitness centers, maintenance, emergency protocols and assisted living and skilled nursing services.


Retirement communities vary on their pet policies, Naquin says. Not every prospective resident owns a dog or cat so this might not be an issue. For those who do, pet policies can be the determining factor in someone moving to a pet-friendly community like The Oaks or going elsewhere.

Family Focus

Moving to a retirement community means downsizing. Downsizing means less room for visiting family. If you love to have grandkids visit or have overnight visits from out-of-town family and guests, make sure the community you choose welcomes them and if so, what restrictions if any there might be. The Oaks of Louisiana offers accommodations on campus for residents’ guests. Each apartment is fully furnished, complete with kitchen, living area and cable television.


While all the above are significant and valid factors when considering a retirement community, it’s crucial to remember the most important factor according to Naquin: your happiness. “Prospective residents should ask themselves, is this a place where I will be happy to live?”

As Audrey Hepburn once said: “The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.”

And Oaks resident Betty Mayo is.