Moving your loved one to an assisted living community is a big change and one that can be overwhelming for everyone involved. Every facility and community will have different benefits and characteristics and it can be tough to keep track of which ones are the best for your loved one when you’re first starting out. By asking the right questions and taking your time when choosing a community, you’ll be able to pick the perfect place for your loved one to call “home” for years to come. So, what types of questions should you ask? We’ve put together this checklist of questions for touring assisted living communities so you can go prepared.
Questions to Ask About Safety
Your loved one’s safety is always a top priority and should be part of the questions you ask when searching for senior living. Take the time to assess each community’s emergency response plan, their nighttime security efforts and find out what steps they take to protect your loved one when they’re in the community. These common questions are a great place to start:
- Is there on-site security that will keep my loved one safe?
- What will you do if my loved one needs emergency medical care?
- How do you handle evacuations in the event of a fire or other disaster?
- Are there smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in my loved one’s living space?
Using a checklist of questions to assess an assisted living facility will give you a good idea of what you can expect from the community and if it will meet your loved one’s needs.
Questions to Ask About the Community
One of the first things you’ll need to ask is what is assisted living like for residents of each community. Remember, making sure your loved one is in an environment they’ll enjoy is one of the most important things you’ll need to do when touring different communities. Some questions to ask when looking for assisted living communities are:
- How long do residents stay or what is your turnover like?
- Where are residents permitted to go in the community?
- Do you have outdoor spaces and common areas?
- Are there pets or therapy animals in the community?
- How do you support residents pursuing their hobbies?
Take the time to find out what the community will do to keep residents engaged and able to experience the things they enjoy most.
Questions to Ask About Medical Care
One of the benefits of assisted living is your loved one will receive help with medication management. But you also want to be sure that the community offers additional health care services to help keep your loved one in good health. You should ask questions to learn if the communities you visit are well-versed in providing proper medical treatment like emergency first aid, pharmacy services, medical records management, and more. These questions for senior living communities will help you make the right decision:
- How often is a doctor or nurse on staff?
- How do you maintain a medication schedule for each patient?
- Do you ever allow for self-medication or is everything administered by a caregiver?
- How do you handle medical emergencies and when will you notify me of any problems?
- Do medical professionals visit the community and on what schedule?
- Will you arrange for transportation to off-site physicians?
When you tour assisted living communities, you should expect them to be able to explain about all their processes in detail, including medical care. If any of the answers aren’t what you or your loved one are comfortable with, keep looking.
Questions to Ask About Activities
When your loved one moves into an assisted living community, they’ll be spending most of their time on site. That means they need to be comfortable in the space and have access to activities and social events that pique their interest and keep them entertained. Make these questions a part of your assisted living tour checklist:
- What types of activities will my loved one have access to each day?
- Do you have community-wide events to help residents socialize?
- Is there a calendar of events that my loved one can look at? How often is it updated?
- Are there off-site trips to local attractions for residents with fewer mobility issues?
- Do you have community animals or bring therapy animals in on a regular basis?
A vibrant community will have plenty of activities for your loved one to enjoy each day. Don’t hesitate to ask for a copy of the events calendar so you can show it to your loved one and see if anything sparks their interest.
Questions to Ask About the Staff
The associates are your loved one’s primary caregivers at the assisted living community and you should feel comfortable having them around your loved one. When you tour an assisted living facility, pay attention to the way the associates interact with the residents. Then, ask these questions:
- What is the average turnover like for your staff?
- How many residents is each staff member responsible for?
- What types of daily tasks will staff help residents with?
- How many staff members are on-site overnight?
- Do you require staff members to have CPR and basic first aid certifications?
Remember, your loved one’s safety is ultimately in the hands of the associates at the assisted living community. Make sure they’re professionally trained and that the level of service they are able to provide meets your loved one’s needs.
Questions to Ask About the Dining Program
As your loved one ages, making sure their nutritional needs are met is more complicated. That’s why assisted living communities should offer high-quality meals every day as part of their service. Take your time to find out more about the types of meals your loved one will be able to enjoy by asking these questions:
- How many meals will my loved one receive each day and what times are those meals available?
- Are you able to accommodate different dietary needs?
- How often do you change the menu?
- Can we try the food before we make a decision?
- Will my loved one be able to eat in their apartment as needed?
If the community’s dining program doesn’t fit or accommodate your loved one’s dietary needs or restrictions, keep looking.
Questions to Ask About Long-Term Care
The best assisted living communities have plans in place to help manage your loved one’s health and well-being for years after they move in. If you’re worried about their long-term health or changing care needs, add these questions to your assisted living tour checklist:
- What types of care do you provide?
- Do you have memory care or advanced care units, so I don’t have to move my loved one?
- Is physical therapy available on site? If so, how much does it cost?
- Are your apartments set up to accommodate changing mobility needs or will my loved one need to move?
- How do you assess a resident’s need for care, especially as things change over time?
Questions to Ask About Pricing
Every community will charge different prices based on their location, the types of services and amenities they offer, and other factors. Since those prices can vary wildly, you need to know how much each assisted living community will charge monthly before you can make an informed decision. Ask these questions to help you better understand the types of costs you and your loved one can expect:
- How much will my loved one pay each month to live in the community?
- What is included in that monthly price?
- Are there any additional fees I need to know about before moving my loved one in?
- Do you know of any programs we can use to help lower the cost?
- How do you bill and accept payment for each resident?
Though cost should never be the deciding factor in the assisted living community you choose, you’ll still want to make sure your top choices fit your loved one’s budget.