9 Best Practices for Touring a Senior Living Community
Brian SheridanMar 21st, 2022
Searching for the most suitable Senior Living Community for an elderly loved one is a long, detailed process. However, the many steps are well worth the effort, as you're helping determine where your relative will spend their vintage years.
One of the most critical steps in the process is the community tour. Many aspects of the community might not be accurately represented on their website or brochures, so you'll need to take an up-close look at the community in person to make an informed choice.
Most of all, you'll want to make sure your elderly loved one will feel at home.
Whether you're looking for Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, or Skilled Nursing, it's important to know how to prepare for your community tour and what to look for while you're there. Here are nine tips that will make the community assessment easier.
Know your loved one's needs and wants ahead of time
Every Senior Community has a unique rhythm, and you want your loved one to be a part of it. It's crucial to know what kind of vibe they would most thrive in. For example, would they do better in a highly socialized environment or one that's more laid back? Do they enjoy a variety of physical or outdoor activities? Which interests and amusements do they like the most? Ensuring that the community matches the older person's needs will help them feel right at home.
Observe the condition of the facility
Before and throughout the tour, pay attention to how well the community is maintained. Look for paint peeling on the walls and ceiling, poor lighting, unkempt conditions, and cluttered hallways. The state of the facility says a lot about the pride management puts into upkeep. Besides, if the areas you see are dirty and unpleasant, what does it tell you about the places you can't see?
Observe the staff's demeanor
Do the staff members seem happy and pleasant on the job? If they're not smiling at you or avoiding eye contact, it could signify that they're stressed, overworked, and tired. This could be for many reasons, including that the facility is understaffed, so pay attention to the staff-to-resident ratio. If a community is understaffed, your loved one might not get the attention they need in a timely manner.
Check how staff interact with the residents
As you move through the tour, keep an eye on how the employees treat the residents. Do they seem patient, empathetic, and supportive? Do the residents respond openly to the staff? Try to make your observations inconspicuously, as people tend to be on their best behavior when they know someone's watching. You want your loved one treated with respect and dignity at all times, so if you sense that the staff is less than cordial with residents, treat it as a red flag.
Chat with the residents
Older people in Senior Living Communities are often warm, welcoming, and willing to give you an honest assessment of the facility. Ask them questions about how long the person has lived in the community, what they like to do there, if they're happy, and whether they feel living there is worth the cost.
Have a meal in the communal dining hall
Eating in the dining hall will give you a first-hand opportunity to assess the taste, quality, and nutritional value of the food served by the community chefs. However, it will also allow you to observe how the residents interact with one another during mealtime. For example, are they happy and socializing? Is the mood upbeat? Are they enjoying their meal? Your observations will help determine whether you think your loved one will be happy there.
Walk through the community on your own
Accompanied tours will introduce you to the community's health services, amenities, and residences. It's also a good idea to walk through the community on your own to get a true sense of the community's vibe, observe how things genuinely operate, and have more candid one-on-one conversations with the staff and residents.
Inquire about onsite medical services and nearby hospitals
Many facilities in Northeast Florida have nurses, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals on staff. Ensure that the community offers the type of medical supervision your loved one needs. Ask about the medical staff's licensing and credentials. Also, it's important to note that not all Senior Living Communities offer on-demand 24-hour medical care, so look into which physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare services are close by, especially if the facility is located a long distance from your loved one's primary care physician.
Ask about day trips and transportation
Although many Senior Living Communities offer everything to keep your loved one engaged and entertained, external day trips can be fun too. Ask whether the community provides transportation to shopping centers, churches, casinos, theaters, and more. Also, find out if the community offers fun outings that your relatives might be interested in
Should I bring my parents with me on the Senior Living Community tour?
It's usually a good idea to visit the facilities on your long list without your parents in tow. Depending on their condition, they may not have the energy to visit several locations, and you want to make your assessments without distractions.
After you complete the initial round of tours and create a shortlist of two or three communities, invite your older relative to tour them with you. Be sure to listen to their feedback and ensure all their questions are answered so your family can make an informed choice with peace of mind.
No-cost Help Finding Quality Senior Living Communities in Northeast Florida
Navigating the world of Senior Living Communities in Northeast Florida can be daunting and overwhelming, especially if you're doing it alone or for the first time. With so many options to choose from, how can you be sure you're making the right choice?
When it's time to search for Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, or Skilled Nursing communities in Northeast Florida, call Brian Sheridan of Assisted Living Locators. Brian and his team will take the time to get to know your loved one's needs and wishes and present a list of best-fit communities where your loved one will thrive.
Brian or one of his team will also accompany your family on the community tour, so you'll have all the information you need to make the most informed decision possible.