When you or a loved one is looking into senior residences such as nursing homes, independent living, assisted living, or a continuing care retirement community, there are various questions you should ask yourself and the staff to make the right choice.
We have compiled a list of questions to ask when touring an assisted living facility with a printable checklist at the end to take with you on your tours.
Questions About The Facility and Surrounding Areas
The more that you know about the facility itself, the easier it will be to determine if it will be the best place for you or your loved one to live.
While on a tour, you may be able to answer some of these questions yourself, but don’t be afraid to get clarification on any of these elements:
• Is the residence located in a safe neighborhood?
• Is the residence close to your family and friends?
• Do you like the appearance of the residence? Are the grounds well maintained? Is the interior of the residence cheerful and homelike?
• How clean is the facility and are there any noticeable odors?
• How many people live in the residence?
• Is the floor plan easy to follow?
• Are there common areas with enough space for residents to spend time together?
• Are outdoor areas available to residents?
• Can residents come and go freely? Are visitors allowed to come and go freely?
• Is the facility located near a community hospital or urgent care center?
Tip: To get a good feel for the residence, try to visit it more than once (unannounced, if possible).
Questions About The Current Residents
The goal of any senior living community tour is to find a wonderful new home for your parent or loved one. The best way to see what life will be like at a facility is to consider those who already live there.
Consider these questions when touring a nursing home or retirement community, and make sure to keep an eye out during your tour for a glimpse into the everyday life of your loved one’s potential new neighbors.
• Do the residents seem happy and content?
• Are they friendly?
• Are they interacting with each other and/or you?
• Are there any social groups and what are the activities offered?
Tip: If you are permitted, take time to get feedback from some of the current residents and their families regarding how they like the community.
Questions About the Facility Staff
It’s important to know as much as you can when it comes to who will be helping you or your loved one daily while at an assisted living facility. Not only will they be the primary caretakers of their senior residents, but they’ll also be your points of contact when and if any issues or questions arise.
Some questions to consider include:
• What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
• Do the staff members seem rushed, stressed out, or overworked?
• How do staff members interact with the residents?
• Do they know residents’ names?
• Are the interactions friendly or tense?
• Do staff members treat each other professionally?
• What training, continuing education, or licensing do staff members receive?
• How are residents’ concerns handled?
Questions About the Facility’s Safety Measures, Security, and Accessibility
It’s crucial to know what the facility does to ensure the safety and security of all residents as well as to ensure everything is accessible to the residents. After all, one of the primary reasons to move to a senior care facility is to make life easier for the seniors and their families!
Security is not an area to gloss over on your facility tour. Make sure you get answers to basic and more advanced questions such as:
• Are the common areas and hallways well lit?
• Can residents with walkers or wheelchairs get around easily?
• Are the floors nonskid?
• Are bathrooms handicap accessible? Do they have handrails?
• Are there sprinklers and smoke detectors?
• Are exits clearly marked?
• Are there safety locks on the doors and windows?
• Have there been any complaints?
• Is the facility licensed?
• Are inspection records available?
For information on the safety and security precautions at Serenity Oaks, read more here.
Tip: Make sure to ask the staff about these questions and use the Better Business Bureau and your Area Agency on Aging to research the residence.
Questions About Living Amenities and Dining:
Outside of the crucial concerns, you might have about a facility’s location, safety, or cost, you also need to learn what life will be like on a daily basis at each community you tour.
Knowing as much as you can when it comes to daily activities, general amenities, and food options will greatly help you decide on the best assisted facility option for you.
• Are there different types or sizes of units, private and shared rooms?
• Are the bathrooms private? Will they accommodate a wheelchair or walker?
• Do all rooms have a telephone? Cable TV? Internet access?
• What is provided in each room? Can residents bring their own furniture and decorate their space?
• Is the facility smoke-free?
• Is there a meal plan?
• Is there a common dining area? Is it clean?
• Are meals served every day? All day or at set times?
• Does the menu offer multiple appealing and nutritious foods that you will enjoy?
• Are snacks available?
• Can the meal service accommodate special food needs?
• Is there a laundry service?
• Is there a transportation service?
• Is there a worship service?
• Are residents allowed to have their own pets? Does the residence have community pets?
• Does the residence offer special services, such as a salon or pharmacy?
Questions About Personalized Services and Medical Care
Making sure that personal care needs and medical needs will be met is a large part of the search for a senior living facility.
Before choosing where to visit, make sure you understand what types of living options each facility offers. For example, if a facility only offers independent or assited living, but you’re in need of a qualified memory care nursing home, it doesn’t matter how nice the grounds are or how friendly the staff is.
Once you’ve established that the residence is the right senior living option for you, you can also dig deeper with the following questions.
• What personal care services are available (for example, assistance with eating, bathing, dressing)?
• Are staff members available 24 hours a day? Is a doctor available 24 hours a day?
• Are there doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, or other health professionals who come to the facility to evaluate and treat residents?
• Does the residence regularly assess residents’ care needs?
• Does the assessment include input from the resident, family members, staff, and doctors?
• What happens if a resident’s care needs to change?
• Do residents have written care plans? If so, who develops the plans? How often are they reviewed and updated?
• Is the residence certified to care for those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia?
• What are the medicine policies? Are residents allowed to take medicine on their own?
• What happens when a resident develops a medical condition?
• What is the procedure for responding to medical emergencies?
Questions About Contracts and Finances
When looking into an assisted living facility, you want to make sure all aspects are right for you including the cost.
Before your tour, try to get as much information as you can through notes or printed information. That way, you can use your tour to finalize any details or clear up any confusion about how much the assisted living faility costs.
• Did the residence provide you with a contract that details all fees and services, as well as admission and discharge policies? Is it easy to read and understand?
• What are the move-out criteria and procedure?
• What rights do residents have?
• What happens if a resident has to leave the residence?
• Why would a resident be asked to leave? How much notice would the resident receive?
• If the resident is in the hospital, is his or her room reserved?
• Who makes a transfer or discharge decision?
• How much is the entrance fee?
• How much is the monthly rent?
• What is included in the rent? Are utilities and telephone included?
• What is the security deposit?
• Is the deposit refundable?
• Does the residence bill for services?
• Does the residence accept long-term care insurance?
• Are there any programs to help cover the costs of services?
Searching for a forever home for your loved one is probably one of the hardest decisions you will face. Let us help you make it as painless as possible. Reach out to us today!
Plus — print and take this form with you on your visit!