Whether you’re a caretaker, son or daughter, or close family member helping in the decision-making process for a loved one, here is a list of Ten Tips for elements you should consider when assessing various senior assisted living communities, all from A Place for Mom.
1: Observe the Level of Cleanliness & Follow Your Nose – Does the community feel fresh and clean? Ask how often housekeeping is provided, get details on types of maintenance provided and estimated response times, ask about laundry procedures and at what cost. If you smell an odor on your tour that seems to indicate a bigger problem, always ask the manager about the cause.
2: Visit during an activity - schedule your tour in conjunction with any community events. Are they well attended and does staff seem to enjoy it as well? Does the calendar match your loved one’s interests? Are there varied options of classes and do they include outings away from the community? If religious services are important, inquire about those.
3: Pay attention to staff friendliness - Attitude and friendliness of staff are one of the most important factors. Observe staff interacting with residents. Do they listen and make eye contact? Confidence in the property’s staff is key.
4: Visit the outdoor areas - Investigate the outdoor areas that are available to residents. Does it feel safe and secure? Are there outdoor activities?
5: Eat a meal at the property - The dining room experience is very important to seniors. Discuss entrée choices, dining hours, options and procedures with your tour guide.
6: Ask security and safety questions - Make sure bathrooms are accessible and have grab bars in convenient locations. Ask how residents contact staff in case of emergency. Are there registered nurses on-site? What is the staffing pattern at night? How are the resident’s medication needs met?
7: Ask questions about personal care - Discuss bathing options and preferences. Observe the current residents while visiting communities. Consider what activities residents are involved in and the current weather. Does the staff treat residents with dignity, respect and a smile?
8. Get feedback from residents & families - Ask past and present residents and families for their honest opinions about the community. See if there is a resident council at the community.
9. Ask about move-out criteria - Ask about specific move-out criteria. Under what circumstances is a resident asked to move out of the community? What type of notice does resident or caregiver need to give to staff?
10. Trust your instincts - As you are touring, think about the reality of yourself or loved one actually living at the community. Can you imagine being comfortable or at ease there? Are the staff and fellow residents open, welcoming and friendly? Follow your instincts.