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Beautiful living spaces, access to individualized care, a convenient location for visiting family members and friends—these are just a few of the many advantages you or your loved one can enjoy at an assisted living community. Sometimes, it’s obvious what to look for as you search for senior care, but sometimes in the hustle and bustle of touring communities, you may forget to ask some very important questions.
In this guide, we’re highlighting must-ask questions when researching or touring assisted living facilities—as well as a few tips to help you or your parent(s) make a smooth transition into the right community. Keep on reading to discover questions that will help you evaluate all of the senior living locations ahead of you…
From the very beginning of the process, always keep the future in mind. Even if you or your parent(s) don’t need much assistance now, that could change down the line. The last thing you want is to suddenly need extra care and have to do this process all over again. These should be some of the first questions you ask upon stepping through the doors of a community.
A new home cannot really feel like home if a person doesn’t like the space they’re living in. As the place that the senior will spend almost half of their time, the questions asked about the rooms may be some of the most important when choosing an assisted living community. Of course, questions may come about when actually inside the room, but here are a few to think about before the tour.
All senior living communities have activities. Your job is to evaluate the quality of the activities that a community provides and how they will engage a senior socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Ask questions to see if the community goes beyond bingo games, like providing opportunities for visiting guest speakers, live music, movie nights, and events outside the facility.
Most assisted living communities provide three nutritious meals a day, but there are many other things to consider that may make one place more accommodating than the other. For example, some places may be better equipped to help people with high blood pressure or heart disease by offering low-fat, low-sodium meals. Moreover, it may be important to some people that a community prioritizes home-cooked food using fresh and natural ingredients.
Residents in assisted living communities can expect the facilities to be well-kept, with services designed to engage them and help them stay healthy. If there aren’t common areas or opportunities where a person can gather with other residents, then a resident may be forced to spend a lot of time in their apartment leading to a lower quality of life.
Getting outside for some exercise or a breath of fresh air is important regardless of age. As you look for assisted living, you’ll want to ask what kind of outdoor spaces and recreation areas are available in addition to taking a look at the physical condition and location of the campus.
Finding staff members with a great attitude is critical—but so is finding team members who know how to engage with residents so that their retirement years are enriching and fulfilling. Try to look for a team of professionals who truly care about residents and want to interact with and be a part of their lives. Discern if the community leaders communicate energy and enthusiasm about their role, because their attitudes will have a significant impact on a person’s care. If you’re on an assisted living tour, see if team members know residents’ names and try to listen to conversations to get a feel for their friendliness.
The most caring team of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and personal support workers can’t always ensure quality caregiving. The reality is, the entire senior living experience depends on how many caregivers the community has hired compared to the number of residents. The community’s staff-to-resident ratio is an important factor for the quality of care a resident will receive.
When an older adult moves into an assisted living facility, he or she is making a big financial decision. So consider if a care community provides the financial guidance needed to ensure a good investment for the future. Observe how a community answers questions about rent rates, costs, and other details, because all financial information should be transparent and straightforward.
Determining whether a community has cultivated an environment where you or your loved one can thrive will depend on the answer to each of the previous questions. It’s about evaluating a community as a whole. Dig deep, and ask, “Can I see myself or my parent living here? Is this a place that’s full of life and promotes health, happiness, and wellness?” For help answering this question and finding the right place, search our database for the best assisted living near you.