Making an informed choice about assisted living starts with asking the right questions. This list will help you get started.
Choosing to move to an assisted living community is a big decision for older adults and their loved ones. While there are a variety of benefits to making such a move, families often feel uncertain about how to start the search. Sometimes, even figuring out how to talk with a senior loved one about moving can feel daunting.
Making an informed decision starts with asking the right questions. If you’ve never been through the process of selecting an assisted living community for a family member before, you might not know what to ask. This list can help you get started.
8 Questions to Ask When You Visit an Assisted Living Community
- What is the ratio of caregivers to residents?
Adequate staffing is one of the key determinants of quality of care. Having too few caregivers to support residents can result in an overworked staff. That often leads to high turnover and a lower quality of care.
- How do you assess how much care a resident needs?
Assisted living communities assess needs in a variety of ways and typically use that information to determine monthly fees. You’ll want to become familiar with the community’s process and how often residents are re-evaluated.
It’s also important to know what happens when your loved one’s needs change significantly. Will the community be able to accommodate more complex care? Or will the senior be required to move again?
In communities like The Wesley Community, residents and families have peace of mind knowing the community offers a full continuum of senior care. If a resident’s needs change, they can seamlessly move from one level of care to another.
- What safety and security programs are in place?
At each assisted living community you visit, be sure to ask about the safety measures the community has in place. Accessible bathrooms, grab bars in the bedroom, and fire suppression systems are usually standard.
You’ll also want to confirm that there is an emergency alert system in every apartment. Ask how alerts are handled. In the event a resident has an emergency, who will respond and how long will it take?
Also, ask if exterior doors are kept locked and if there are on-site security personnel.
- What services and amenities are available?
Assisted living communities offer support with the activities of daily living. Personal care, meals, housekeeping, laundry, and medication assistance are usually available. Does the community offer any additional services, such as a beauty/barber shop or transportation?
- What types of life enrichment activities and programs are offered?
Staying actively engaged with life is one of the benefits of an assisted living community. Ask for a copy of a current life enrichment schedule and review it with your senior loved one.
Check to see if activities are scheduled throughout the day every day and not just limited to business hours Monday through Friday.
- How did the community perform on their state survey?
Assisted living communities are licensed at the state level. Woodlawn Commons Assisted Living program is licensed by the New York State Department of Health and held accountable to their standards and regulations during annual surveys.
Ask the communities you visit if you can review a copy of their state survey results.
- How do you bill for services?
Each assisted living community differs in the way they assess fees. Make sure you understand what is—and isn’t—included at each community you are considering. Also ask what additional charges you should expect to incur each month.
- What kind of contract are you required to sign?
Contracts differ from community to community. Some can be quite complicated. Make sure any contract you sign addresses payment terms, entrance fees (if applicable), additional care charges, and any costs for leaving the community.
It’s usually a good idea to have an attorney experienced in elder care or senior living review the contract and identify potential issues.
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