7 Important (and Overlooked) Questions You Need to Ask at a Senior Living Community Interview
Brian SheridanJan 5th, 2023
Many families searching for a Senior Living Community for an elderly loved one often create a shortlist based on several common factors. These factors include the design of the living space, available indoor and outdoor activities, the community's monthly rental fees, the quality and choice of meals, and more.
However, whether looking for Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Care accommodations, there are several other important factors of senior living that many families might neglect to ask about, especially if they're going through the process for the first time. The insights gleaned can reveal subtle but critical differences between the different Senior Living Communities you're considering, helping you make a more informed choice on where your loved one will receive the care they need.
During the initial meeting with the community representative, be sure to ask these seven important - but often overlooked - questions:
Can the menus be fully customized?
Most Assisted Living and Memory Care communities serve residents three meals per day, and one daily meal is often included in the rental fees for Independent Living. However, many older people want to choose what they want to eat, while others are bound by special dietary restrictions or preferences. Ask the community manager if you can review sample menus or if there is a variety of alternate food options at every meal to satisfy your loved one.
Which religious and spiritual services are offered?
Your older loved one might prefer a community where they can find spiritual support. Find out if the community offers services from an established religious leader, when religious services are held, whether there is a dedicated space for sharing faith practices with others, if your loved one can access religious texts, and whether last rites are available. You can also ask if the kitchen will provide meals that accommodate religious requirements.
Is there a resident council?
Many senior living communities have resident councils that meet in a private space on-site to discuss various issues that impact their quality of life within the community. If a problem needs to be addressed with community management, the group will send them a written request for a meeting. You may be able to attend a meeting to get a sense of how the residents feel about the community and their relationship with the management team. Ask your tour host if the community has a resident council. If the answer is no, this might be a sign to reconsider placing your loved one there.
Can we review your abuse prevention guidelines?
Abuse of a loved one is unpleasant to think about, but for everyone's peace of mind, you should ask about the community's abuse prevention guidelines. These guidelines must establish clear boundaries between the staff and residents and detail the consequences if someone breaks the rules. Make sure you understand the details of the abuse prevention guidelines of every community you're considering, so you make a choice that will ensure your relative will be safe from harm.
What is your dispute resolution process?
Most Senior Living Communities are wonderful places to live. However, sometimes things always go as planned. When you or your older relative need to raise a concern with management, you want to ensure that the community's dispute resolution policy ensures it will be heard, validated, and resolved to the best of their ability. Be sure that a list of key people to contact with complaints is available in the event an issue needs to be raised.
Is there a mandatory (forced) arbitration clause in the contract?
Many senior living contracts contain mandatory arbitration clauses that state that all disagreements be settled by a third-party arbitrator and not in court or public view. The clause also removes your right to file a lawsuit in the event of neglect or abuse allegations. Have your lawyer review the contract before you sign it, and consider removing any mandatory arbitration clauses they find. If the community legal team considers arbitration non-negotiable, you will need to discuss with your family whether to take the risk.
What are your improvement plans for the future?
Every business has areas for improvement, and Senior Living Communities are no exception. The community will already have a plan to improve efficiencies, upgrade staff training, add more health services, and other initiatives that will enhance the quality of life for residents overall. Asking about the future of the community will reveal how proactive the community is in maintaining high standards. Consider how these plans will improve the resident experience for your loved one.
It's best to ask these and other questions at the initial meeting with the community representative so you can decide early on whether to keep the community on your list. If you need any support along the way, ask a Senior Living Advisor to accompany you to the meeting and for their recommendations on which communities would best suit your loved one. We're here to help!
Find Quality Independent Senior Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing in Northeast Florida
Searching for the right Senior Living Community can be a daunting experience. With so many options available, you need to be sure that you choose the best-fit community for your elderly loved one's needs. You also want to ensure you ask all the right questions so you can make the most informed choice possible.
When you're starting your search for a Senior Living Community in Northeast Florida, contact Brian Sheridan of Assisted Living Locators. Brian and his team will take the time to get to know your relative needs, wants, and requirements and recommend communities best suited to meet them. They'll even accompany you on community tours and attend meetings with staff to ensure you get all the information you need so you can make a decision with confidence.
Contact Brian at 904-559-3203 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find the best Senior Living Community for you or a family member today!