Questions to Ask When Touring An Assisted Living Community
There are many factors that go into finding the “right” assisted living community. From cost and location to amenities and staff, caregivers must give a great deal of thought to what will make their loved one safe and comfortable.
The internet has made it much easier to do primary research and narrow down your options. But to get a true feel for an assisted living community you’ll want to take a tour. This will give you a better understanding of the type of environment each community has to offer, and if your loved one would be happy there.
There are many questions you can ask when touring an assisted living community that will help you judge the quality of care a community provides and whether it will be a good fit for your unique situation. We recommend you ask these questions of yourself and others to help narrow down your options and make the best selection.
Questions to Ask Yourself
The first set of questions are questions you should ask yourself when touring. This will help you judge the general “vibe,” of the community, the care it provides, and if it’s a good fit for your loved one. Of course, if your loved one is able, they should come tour with you — they’re the best judge of what they like!
Is the assisted living community clean? Is the community building and landscaping well-maintained?
A good assisted living community will take pride in its appearance and have the resources to keep it clean and well-maintained. Neglected grounds and buildings could be a poor reflection on the community’s standards.
Are the food choices varied?
Ask for a sample menu when touring to get a feel for the type of food your loved will be served, and if they would enjoy those meal options. It’s also a good idea to ask how (or if) the community accommodates any dietary restrictions a resident may have now or in the future. Diet is an important part of staying healthy, so you will want to select a community that offers healthy (and tasty!) selections.
What activities are available? Will my loved one enjoy them?
A daily and enriching schedule helps us stay active as we age. Many assisted living communities offer a calendar of events and daily activities to keep their residents engaged, including classes, games, crafts, and clubs. Consider whether your loved one would be interested in these activities and if there are enough options to keep them involved.
Will my loved one be comfortable?
Assisted living communities help their residents with activities of daily living (ADLs) and personal care. But whether a community is a good fit goes beyond just the services it provides. To make sure your loved one is truly comfortable, you will want to consider the level of privacy each resident has and whether that is sufficient. (Ex: Is a shared bedroom a deal-breaker?)
It’s also a good idea to consider the amenities your loved one may have become accustomed to — such as cable TV or internet — and if those amenities will still be available to them in the community. This can help ease the transition as they move into a new environment.
Questions to Ask Assisted Living Staff
As the people who will care for your loved one every day, the quality of staff at an assisted living community will likely be a major factor when making your choice. Interact with as many staff as you can while touring to get a feel for their attitudes and approach toward care.
- Are they friendly?
- Do they know the names of the residents, or are you just another number?
- Are they qualified to care for your loved one?
Here are some questions you should ask:
What security procedures are in place?
Safety should be a top priority in assisted living communities. Ask about the different security procedures in place in case of an emergency (medical, fire, etc.), as well as safety features (alarms, call buttons, locked doors, etc.) This is especially important in communities with memory care, as residents may wander off or need a higher level of supervision to stay safe.
What type of training do you receive?
The level of training caregiver staff receive can vary widely from community to community. Ask if members of the team receive any training, and if so, what kind. You want to make sure staff are qualified to handle the needs of your loved one.
This is also an opportunity to ask if there are registered nurses or other medical professionals on staff who can provide care if needed; according to Paying for Senior Care, government research has concluded “that residing in an assisted living community with a full-time Registered Nurse (RN) who provides care to residents reduces a resident’s likelihood of going to a nursing home, or to some other setting, roughly by 50%.”
What is the staff to resident ratio?
In addition to trained staff, you also want to make sure there is enough staff. Asking about the staff to resident ratio will give you a better idea of the assisted living community’s resources and if your loved one will receive the amount of attention and care they need.
Questions to Ask Residents
Touring is also an excellent opportunity to ask residents about their experience and get a firsthand account of what living in the community is like. If given the chance, ask residents what they like and don’t like about the community — there may be patterns that indicate gaps in care. This can also give you a feel for the community at large and if the residents are well cared for.
Knowing the Questions to Ask When Touring
Knowing the questions to ask when touring an assisted living community will help you make a more informed decision on whether it is the right one for your loved one.
Want to learn more about assisted living? Find frequently asked questions about assisted living here.