Senior couple talking with someone and looking at a laptop

Did you turn 65 in 2011? If you did, you’re among the first baby boomers to reach traditional retirement age, and you’ll see the youngest members of your generation reach this milestone in 2029. With 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, by 2031, the U.S. population over age 65 will number 75 million. According to a recent report, this wave of boomers  possibly transitioning out of the workforce will affect how we all live. It’s already having an impact on Social Security, the job market and consumer spending. It’s also affecting capacity at senior living communities.   

What Does That Mean for You?

It means you have to have a waitlist strategy. Nowadays, with many senior living communities near or at capacity, being on a waitlist for two to five years is considered normal. You can’t delay until you or a loved needs to move out of home to pick a senior living community

Because planning a move like this takes time, it’s advisable to get your name in as soon as possible. Whether it’s independent living, assisted living, or another kind of community you’re seeking, most communities are likely to have waitlists. With your name safely on several waitlists, you can continue with the other steps of a senior living move: decluttering, selling your house, etc., while you home in on a community that’s a good fit.

How a Waiting List Works

Waitlists work on a first-come, first-served basis and can open or close at any time. You may have to keep in contact with the communities you’re interested in so you can put your name down when the waitlist opens up.

Senior communities require a deposit for your name to be added to a waitlist. This can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. These deposits are usually fully or partially refundable if you change your mind. Some communities even offer interest-bearing deposits as enticements, so you earn a little extra while you wait.

There’s also no obligation to move in if your name comes up. However, find out if turning down a residence means there will be repercussions if you want to maintain your place in line. For example, if you refuse an opening for a senior apartment, will you be contacted if another more desirable location becomes available? Some retirement communities have a “three-strike” rule, and as the name implies, if you get to the top of the list and turn down that opening three times, your name will fall to the bottom of the list.

Other Benefits of Waitlists

If you’re looking to move to independent living in a Life Plan Community (also known as a CCRC or continuing care retirement community), you’ll probably be required to pass a health exam to get on the waitlist. This is easier when you’re a younger, able-bodied senior.  A long wait time works to your advantage, because you can take your time with a move, but you’re already preapproved to move in when you’re ready.

If you’re looking for senior living on behalf of a loved one, encouraging them to join a senior housing waitlist involves them in decision-making. It helps them retain a sense of control and allows them to express their preferences when it comes to  community culture, the amenities they’ll use, and the kind of care they’ll receive. While they wait, you can help them plan for all they’ll enjoy when their name comes: a rightsized lifestyle that offers simplicity and freedom, new opportunities for friendship and activities, and access to care. 

The Perks of Waiting

Some communities offer those on a waitlist a variety of benefits. They may provide access to community activities, dining and amenities such as a fitness center or pool. They may also extend invitations to events to meet other future residents or mingle with current residents. 

At The Marshes of Skidaway Island, joining our waitlist enrols you as a member of our Future Resident Club. Your refundable deposit secures a solid plan for your retirement even before you move in. While in-person events are temporarily suspended, we’re hosting fun and engaging online events where prospective residents get to meet their future neighbors, learn more about senior living, and get a sense of our warm and friendly culture. Contact us to start a conversation — we’ll show you how we can make waiting worth your while.