Whether you’re newly exploring assisted living for a family member in need of senior care, or you’re well into your search for an assisted living community, you’ve likely already come to a realization: There’s a lot to consider!
You can get organized and make your search more manageable by using this list of questions to ask the assisted living communities you’re evaluating.
What levels of care do you provide?
Although your loved one may only need the resources of an assisted living community for now, that can change. It’s a good idea to understand what options are available so that if your loved one’s diagnosis or treatment needs to evolve, care can be adjusted to meet those long-term needs.
What living space options are available?
Among the most common questions to ask assisted living communities are those regarding the physical living space. In addition to understanding whether the apartments, rooms and/or bathrooms are private or semiprivate, you’ll also want details on the size and features of the space, as well as the variety of floor plans and residence features like kitchenettes and storage.
What safety and security features do you offer?
Entrusting your loved one’s care to others in an unfamiliar place can feel a little less scary when you know what measures are in place to protect their physical safety and personal belongings. Ask about access to the senior living community, when doors are locked, whether security staff is on duty 24/7, and what types of locks are on doors and windows. Also inquire about safety features such as handrails, call buttons and emergency notification systems.
Who administers medical care?
Some communities prefer that their in-house physicians manage care for each resident, while others encourage residents to continue seeing their current doctors, and still others take a blended approach with both in-house and private providers involved in creating care plans. Ask about how often medical assessments occur, how concerns are reported and addressed, and which team members are responsible for executing care services. Also be sure to clarify how medication is obtained, paid for and dispensed, and how you can expect to participate in creating a written plan of care.
What kinds of activities and services are available to residents?
In addition to a social calendar, explore opportunities such as fitness classes, continuing education and other enrichment programming that lets residents interact. Also look into what common areas are available for residents to use, either by themselves or while entertaining visitors. Other considerations include additional services that may be available, such as an on-site beauty salon or transportation to nearby destinations like the grocery store.
What are your community rules and guidelines?
Beyond resident rights and expectations, you can expect an assisted living facility to have guidelines for various aspects of community living. For example, are meals available on demand or during set hours? Are residents expected to visit the dining room or can they take meals in their rooms? What are the notification procedures in the event of medical emergencies? Other important rules to consider include visiting hours and policies on how long a room can be held during temporary absences, such as a hospitalization.
How does the payment structure work and what is included?
Most communities offer a detailed breakdown of what’s included in your monthly rent or payment, as well as any additional fees to expect. Look for details on how charges are handled for items that go above and beyond the living space itself, like meal plans, toiletry items and linens, as well as medical care, medical equipment and medications, including prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs.
Do you offer tours?
While you can learn a great deal about a facility by phone and through research online, there’s really no substitute for visiting a community in person with a list in hand of questions to ask your assisted living tour guide. In fact, visiting your top two or three choices more than once is a good idea, so you can get a feel for the community at different times of the day and with different staff members on duty.
During your visit, be sure to make time for questions to ask the assisted living residents themselves. Many are eager for the opportunity to share their opinions, and you’ll be able to get a frank and personal perspective on how residents live in the community, whether they like the place, whether they enjoy the food, which activities they find most appealing, and so forth.
What is involved in your application process?
If the community feels like a good fit for you or your loved one, it’s a good idea to inquire early about the application process. Depending on the urgency of your need, it may be possible to expedite the process, but it’s also important to know upfront whether there is a wait list or other factors that could affect your timeline.
Be sure to print this list of questions to ask an assisted living community and use it as a guide while you make calls and meet with potential senior living communities. Learn more about Village on the Green, including our new assisted living services, by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.