8 Must-Ask Questions When Searching for a Senior Living Community
Brian SheridanJul 17th, 2022
When searching for the best-fit Senior Living Community for an elderly loved one, many families sift through websites or read brochures. However, as handy as these marketing materials can be, they’re designed to show the community and living spaces in the best possible light. You might only be getting part of the story.
To make the best assessment possible, it’s essential that you visit the space for an in-person tour and have an in-depth conversation with an onsite senior living representative. This meeting will allow you to ask specific questions that will help you make the most informed decision possible.
Here are 8 sample questions to ask the community representative, and why you should ask them:
What are the apartments like?
Your loved one will be spending their vintage years in the community you settle on, so it’s essential that their living space helps them feel safe, secure, and at home. Ask about decorating restrictions, the level of privacy they can expect, visiting hours, and if there’s room for meaningful personal effects, such as a favorite easy chair, dresser, or night table. Looking at floor plans for various size suites and the units themselves can help you visualize how your loved one can make their space a place they can call their very own.
Which services and utilities are included in the rent?
It’s crucial to find out if services such as housekeeping and laundry are included in the rent and how often these services are provided. Ask if utilities such as heat and water are charged separately. Cable television, phones, Internet, and emergency call systems may also cost extra. Find out if Wi-Fi is accessed through a dedicated connection or is it shared with other residents, visitors, and staff. Confirming what is and isn’t included with the rent will help prevent surprises down the road.
What safety measures are in place for residents?
Safety is a chief concern for Senior Living Communities, both inside the unit and within the common areas. There are several questions about safety you should ask, such as:
- Is medical assistance available within the community 24/7?
- Are emergency alert buttons or pull cords easily accessible in the units, and do they provide the resident’s location for a faster response from staff?
- Are grab bars, rails, and non-slip surfaces installed in the bathrooms?
- Is there a procedure in place that ensures all residents are accounted for?
- What kind of health and safety protocols are in place in the event of a virus outbreak?
- Is an emergency response plan in place to keep the residents safe in a dangerous or life-threatening situation?
- Is there a backup generator in the event of a power failure?
What kind of food choices do you offer?
Most senior living communities offer a healthy, diverse menu in the dining room. However, ensure that the menus can accommodate your loved one’s dietary or nutritional needs. The community should be able to provide suitable meal choices if your loved one doesn’t eat animal products, has severe food allergies, or only consumes food according to religious requirements. Also, find out how flexible the dining hours are and if visitors can also use the dining facilities if they want to eat with their families.
Are activities fully accessible?
Activities in Senior Living Communities are designed to provide fun and stimulation for residents. However, some older people may have accessibility issues and public health concerns that might limit their participation. Ask about physical and social activities based on your loved one’s interests and find out how accommodating the activities are regarding accessibility and health. Also, find out if transportation is available to access offsite places of interest, such as movie theaters, casinos, museums, and senior centers.
Will my loved one’s medical needs be met?
Many people move to Assisted Living or Memory Care because living independently at home has become challenging. They may also need ongoing medical care for specific medical conditions. Ask how the community’s medical team supports residents’ individual healthcare needs, what types of physical and cognitive therapy are offered, and if medical services and support are available 24/7. You should also confirm if medication management services are offered and whether the staff will help monitor your loved one’s condition in order to adjust their medical routines as their needs change.
What training and qualifications does your team have?
It’s important to your family to have the best trained and most qualified people engaging with and caring for your elderly loved one. Ask about the background checks, training, and qualifications of healthcare workers, therapists, and all staff who will be interacting with your family member regularly. You can also inquire if the team undergoes continuing education to upgrade their skills and holds regular team meetings to discuss and proactively solve issues.
Can you provide references?
Senior Living Communities are wonderful places to live, but they’re also for-profit businesses. Empty units don’t make money, so community representatives might say anything to get your loved one moved in. Ask the community representative for references, which will demonstrate that you take where you place your elderly relative seriously. Contact each reference and ask for details about what living in the community is like. Listen for red flags such as neglect, suspicions of abuse, inadequate health care, substandard food, and other significant issues.
Everyone’s situation is unique, and you’ll likely have many more questions about your family’s particular needs. Researching, contacting, and interviewing potential senior living communities requires time, energy, and effort and can lead to confusion and frustration without the proper guidance.
That’s why hiring a Senior Living Advisor can help make the process a lot easier.
No-cost help finding quality Memory Care in Northeast Florida
Navigating the world of senior living can be daunting and confusing, especially if you’re doing it alone or for the first time.
That’s why families looking for Independent Senior Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Care in Northeast Florida call Brian Sheridan of Assisted Living Locators. Brian and his team will take the time to get to know your elderly loved one’s needs, wants, and requirements and present a list of best-fit options that suit their lifestyle. With Brian on your side, you’ll have all the information you need to make the most informed decision possible.