Questions to Ask When Choosing Assisted Living

October 19, 2015

The search to find the perfect assisted living community to meet the needs of your loved one can be daunting. It is a complex decision making process that can take a lot of time and patience. Being prepared with a set of questions will help you better evaluate and compare the different communities and ultimately make an informed decision.

Ask the assisted living staff the following questions to help you find a senior living community that's right for your loved one:

  1. What activities are scheduled daily/weekly/monthly? May I see a schedule? It’s a good idea to visit during an activity so you can see the level of participation by residents and see how the staff interacts with them.
  2. Do you provide 3 well-balanced meals a day, 7 days a week? Ask to see a menu and look to make sure it is both nutritionally balanced and varied. We suggest eating a meal during your visit to sample the cuisine.
  3. May I speak with a resident about how they like the community? How about a resident’s family member? Getting inside the minds of residents and their families will help you decide whether a community is a good fit. You can cross off #2 and #3 by talking to a resident over a meal. 
  4. What types of apartments are available and at what costs? Studio, one bedroom, two bedroom?
  5. Do you provide transportation to doctors’ appointments, worship services, shopping, or other desired activities?
  6. Does the community have pets and/or allow residents to bring their own pets?
  7. Can I visit my loved one at any time?
  8. Are the apartments furnished? What should or shouldn’t my loved one bring?
  9. Is there a written plan of care for each resident? How often is it reviewed and updated?
  10. What services are included in the monthly fees and what is extra? Telephone? Cable? Laundry?
  11. Can I get a copy of your residency agreement? This document should include (at minimum) services provided, fees, extra charges, move-in and move-out criteria, staffing, and house rules. Review it thoroughly to avoid any surprises down the line.
Getting clear answers to these questions will be a good start, but not everything can be answered by the staff. You also have to trust yourself and your instincts. Ask yourself these questions after your visit(s):
  • Was I greeted warmly when I entered the community?
  • Did the residents seem happy, comfortable and well cared for?
  • Was the décor attractive and homey?
  • Were staff members friendly and dressed appropriately?
  • Can I see my loved one fitting in with the other residents?
  • Is the community clean, well lit and appropriately heated/cooled?
At the end of the day, the most important question to ask yourself is, “Will my mom/dad thrive in this environment?” If the answer is yes, your search is over. 

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