What to Ask during Your First Call to an Assisted Living Community

Asking the right questions is essential to making an informed choice about assisted living. Here are a few important questions to have answered.

a father and daughter sitting on a couch with a laptop.

If your holiday season included visiting an aging parent who lives alone, you may have realized it’s time for them to make a change. Many adult children start the search for an assisted living community for a family elder after the holidays. If you are one of them, you might find yourself wondering how to get started.

No one wants to choose a community only to realize it’s not a good fit. Making an informed decision involves a combination of factors, including making a list of questions to ask on your first phone call.

Questions to Ask in the Search for Assisted Living

Some questions to ask are obvious, such as if the community has an apartment available or how long the wait list is. But other questions are equally important to making an informed decision. Asking the following questions will help determine if a community is a good fit for your senior loved one and if it provides quality care and a supportive environment.

  • How does the community screen and train team members?

Caregivers determine the quality of care offered at an assisted living community. Their experience, empathy, and commitment directly impact the well-being of residents. It all starts with attracting the best caregivers and continuously training them.

Not everyone is comfortable working with older adults. Ask each community you call how they assess potential employees for empathy and compassion. Also inquire about the hiring process, including what kind of background checks are done. You’ll want to know that the people caring for your family member are honest and dependable.

Finally, ask questions about the community’s training process. What kind of orientation do caregivers undergo? How often are in-services held to update skills?

  • How many team members are there for each resident?

Another important factor in quality care is how many residents each caregiver is responsible for on a typical day. Even the most experienced caregivers will have trouble caring for too many residents at once. When staff-to-resident ratios are lower, it promotes greater continuity of care. That allows caregivers to get to know residents and spot small changes in their health before they become more serious.

  • What is the average caregiver’s tenure?

Ask how long the average caregiver has been employed by the assisted living community. While these jobs are very rewarding, they are also physically and emotionally demanding. Because of that, turnover is usually higher in the senior living industry than in other fields. However, the best communities tend to have more reasonable caregiver turnover than those where staff is stretched thin or compensation is low.

  • How much are monthly fees and what is included?

Monthly fees and pricing structures can vary greatly from one assisted living community to the next. Some companies have all-inclusive pricing that bundles together all care and services into one consistent monthly fee. Others communities have a base monthly fee with additional charges for care based on each resident’s needs.

Also ask what extra costs your senior loved one will likely incur each month, such as transportation or phone services. Make sure you take this into consideration to understand the true cost of each community.

Schedule a Visit to The Wesley

Researching online and calling assisted living communities that seem like a good fit are important steps in the search for an assisted living community. Nothing replaces a community tour, however, whether it’s in-person or virtual. Should your search be focused on the Saratoga Springs area, we hope you will consider The Wesley. Call us at (518) 587-3600 to set up a time to visit and learn more.