Touring an Assisted Living Community

seniors touring an assisted living commuinty 12/08/2014

One of the most important steps in finding an assisted living community that is the best fit for your senior loved one is the personal visit.  It is an essential part of the process that allows older adults and their families to assess whether or not the community is a good fit for their needs and lifestyle.  To help you make the most of your tour, we’ve assembled a list of questions to ask and things to look for while you are there.

What to Look for When You Tour an Assisted Living Community

Here are few things to keep an eye on when you make your way through an assisted living community for the first time:

• As you drive up to the community, notice if the grounds and exterior of the building look tidy and well kept.

• Is there ample parking for visitors and good lighting?

• Is the exterior door kept locked or is there a receptionist or other staff person to intercept outsiders before they enter resident areas?

• Do residents look tidy and well-cared for?

• Are residents dressed in clothing that is appropriate for the time of day and the season of the year?

• Are staff members and residents interacting with each other in positive ways?

• Are residents engaged in life-enrichment activities?

• Are common areas clean and odor-free?

• Do staff members look you in the eye and offer a greeting or smile when you pass them?

• Is there a posted calendar of events for residents? (If an activity is scheduled for the time of the tour, ask to see the program in progress.)

• Are resident rooms in good condition with enough space for their belongings?

• Are safety features are in place throughout the building?  Important ones to look for include handrails in the hallways, sprinklers in the ceilings, grab bars in the bathrooms, and an emergency call system. 

Questions to Ask During a Visit to an Assisted Living Community

It is best to develop a list of questions to ask before you head out on your first tour.  A few to include are:

• On average, how long have caregivers been employed with the community?

• What is the caregiver to resident ratio?

• Does the community perform background checks on caregivers before they are hired?How often are those repeated once a caregiver is employed?

• What type of training does each employee receive upon hire?

• Do employees receive additional training each year?

• What does the monthly fee include?

• What additional charges might you expect to see?

• What happens when your senior loved one needs more care?

• Under what conditions would your aging loved one be required to move?

If you would like to learn more about senior living and options for care for an aging family member, our Resource Center has tools and articles that may be of help. We share information ranging from senior care funding for veterans to a Cost Comparison Worksheet.