Critical Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Senior Living Community
You’ve researched several senior living communities in your city online, booked a few appointments to see them in person, and coordinated the carpooling situation with your parent(s). Well done! It’s a lot to accomplish, especially when you have so much going on in your life. But what questions should you ask when you arrive to determine if it’s the right place for your aging parent(s)?
To help you make the right decision for Mom and Dad, we created this list of 7 critical questions you need to ask the senior living staff at the communities you are evaluating. Depending on the type of senior living community – assisted living, independent living, 55+ retirement community – some of these questions may or may not be applicable.
We’ve created a checklist version of this guide and included it at the bottom of this post. Feel free to print this complimentary checklist and take it with you to answer the questions on-site:
- How dependent or independent are the residents at your senior living community?
- What restrictions do residents have when it comes to their apartments (e.g. is painting or redecorating allowed, forbidden, or permitted within certain limits)?
- Are there frequent shuttles to shopping, movies, or restaurants in the area?
- Are the apartments and living areas open concept, or more hotel-like?
- How frequently do your other residents’ families and friends come to visit?
- Is your senior living community partnered with any other organizations (e.g. kids groups) who come entertain and spend time with residents?
- How much time do caregivers spend with residents on a one-on-one basis outside of caregiving tasks?
- What amenities are available that bring residents together? Pool, gym, gardens, game rooms?
- What are the visiting hours at your senior living community, if any?
- Do you offer any remote engagement technologies like IndependaTV™ so we can stay in touch with them 24/7 or when needed after hours?
- How many caregivers does your senior living community have?
- How many people does each caretaker care for?
- How long have your caregivers been working here?
- Outside of caregiving tasks, does the caregiver spend time with the resident?
- With so many different residents at different levels of need, what systems do you have in place to ensure that my mom/dad is safe?
- How much does one bedroom cost per month at your community?
- What does that price include (e.g. food, entertainment, transportation)?
- What is the final price after taxes?
- When was the last time you increased rent and why?
- How frequently do you expect to increase rent and by what %?
- Do you hold any group activities at your senior living community?
- If so, which ones and how frequently?
- Are the activities mandatory or voluntary?
- What kind of games (e.g. backgammon), entertainment (e.g. live performances), and challenges (e.g. learning centers) do you offer to ensure residents aren’t isolated?
- What kind of food do you offer?
- How frequently does the menu change?
- How do you deal with residents who have food allergies or dietary restrictions?
- What meals are provided (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2 snacks), and which meals are residents responsible for?
- What happens if a resident is hungry and wants to eat later, or if you notice a resident hasn’t been eating as much or as frequently?
- Is there an area where snacks and food is available when they want it?
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Choosing the right senior living community for your parent(s) is undoubtedly difficult, so take the time you need to think over your options. There’s so much to consider when it comes to picking a senior living community for your parent(s) – from how independent they’ll continue to be, how predictable prices will be over the years, and how safely and comfortably they’ll be able to age in place – that it’s normal to spend a few weeks mulling it over until you are comfortable it’s the right decision for your family.
We hope this quick guide on the 7 critical questions you need to ask your senior living community leave you better prepared for your next community tour.
Don’t forget to download our checklist and take it with you to answer the questions on-site!
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