If you or a loved one has reached a time of your life where you require assistance and need to move into a senior living facility, you have a lot to think about. You typically will have many options to choose from. While there may be many locations in your immediate area, all of them will be different and offer different care. Because of this you need to do your research and make sure you are asking the right questions when it comes to touring these facilities.
The main area of questioning should be staff questions. Yes location and obviously cost are huge factors, but you want to make sure you or your loved one is going to be cared for properly. Get to know the staff and how they operate. What is the staff to resident ratio? What sort of training are they required to complete? Are they trained in the specific area you need (i.e. Alzheimer’s, stroke, dementia, etc.)? It may be a good idea to find out if the staff are medically trained. Are there nurses or in-house physicians on staff? If not, do they provide transportation to and from doctor appointments? This may be important to you and the individual moving in.
Security may not be the first thing you think about when it comes to senior living, but it is very important. You need to make sure you or your loved one is safe. Sometimes the patient may not be able to make good decisions for themselves so it is important for the establishment to be there for them. This is why you should ask about what type of security and safety measures are in place. You can make sure they have the proper senior living technology to avoid any mishaps. Alert and safety protocols should be reviewed and discussed.
Make sure it is clear what is required of you to get a room at the establishment. Some may require particular things like assessments prior to acceptance. You also need to ask what their availability is. Do they even have a room or apartment available for you? If not, then when? Is there a waiting list? This is when you can ask about the cost to see if it is something you and your family can afford. There may be different living options that may differ in price so you should work out what you would prefer. It is also smart to ask about their billing policy, what are you required to pay and when. Not only that, but how (check, online, credit card, etc.). Another thing that you may not think about or even want to think about, it is important to ask what services are available at the facility. Will they be able to accommodate you if your needs were to change?
Ask the facility if they could also match you up with another family who has a loved one in the community to get their thoughts on how things are. You can then find out the truth about the way things operate, if they are kind to their patients, a first-hand experience rather than what the community wants you to hear on their tour.
Depending on the age of the resident, activities may be important. Most facilities have activity directors on staff to plan and coordinate events for the residents. Obviously the healthier you are the more you are able to participate. You can ask if they have an activity calendar to see what they have available. Typical activities would include social hours, games, and various clubs. Things like gardening or book clubs are examples of clubs that would be available. Another activity that is important is exercise classes. With the elderly, you will find things like yoga, swimming, Zumba, and maybe spin that are offered. Sometimes facilities offer modified workouts like chair yoga for those who have physical impairments. One thing you should ask when referring to the activities is if they charge additional fees for services or activities in the community.
As previously stated, there is a lot to consider and learn when researching senior living communities. The best piece of advice is to make sure you ask the questions and have all of the information in front of you in order to make an informed decision for you and your family.