Transitioning into an assisted living arrangement can be a bit stressful. First, you have to think about moving your parents out of their home, which is a big enough chore in itself. Then, you have to find a living facility that will take proper and compassionate care of your loved ones.
But, where do you start? There are so many advertisements for these types of living options. And there are certainly more than advertised to choose from.
The first thing you need to do is come up with a list of questions to ask assisted living staff upon initial inquiry. You’ll also want to have some questions prepared if you visit the facility.
If you’re not sure what questions to ask, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re discussing some common questions people have when it comes time to think about assisted living.
Questions to Ask Assisted Living Facilities before Moving Your Parents in
Before you get on the phone with the first assisted living facility you can find, consider doing a little research first.
Search for referrals and online reviews of places you find so you can narrow down your options from the get-go. Better yet, contact your local Area Agency on Aging or AAoA to inquire about a facility’s licensing and background.
Beyond that, here is an assisted living checklist to get you started on your search.
Some assisted living facilities feature wait lists on apartment openings. It’s important to inquire if this is the case and how long the current wait is.
You can ask about alternative options that may be open if your needs must be met sooner. Ask about the option of moving ‘up’ later down the line too.
If there is no waitlist, you can ask questions about the available units. Consider kitchen space, closet space, and entertaining needs.
Once you’ve established that space is available, you can inquire about services that may be included in the monthly rental fee. Most apartments feature paid utilities, cable, and WiFi. Some facilities include weekly housekeeping services and other amenities.
Don’t ever assume that just because one community offers a bundle of services, all communities will do the same. Make sure this is one of the first questions you ask before proceeding with your inquiries.
A quality assisted living community will offer plenty of activities for seniors to participate in at their leisure. This doesn’t mean all bingo all the time. Hopefully.
Ask about the opportunities for social engagement and what types of activities are offered. Are they available on a weekly basis? Do these activities match your parents’ interests?
Many assisted living communities offer transportation services for those elders that cannot drive. If this is an option that you require, don’t hesitate to ask about it.
Even if your parents still drive, it may be a service that would be beneficial later down the line. Plus, it’s good to know upfront what your options will be.
If there are not transportation services available, you need to make sure there is trained and licensed health staff on the premises.
Many facilities work with clinicians who come on site and treat patients every few days or weeks. You may also inquire about vaccination programs that may be offered throughout the year.
One of the most important things to most seniors regarding assisted living is the quality of the meals and how they are delivered. Some establishments offer dining room settings, while others provide room service.
Don’t forget to ask about the menu. Find out if you can visit the community during a meal time to get a sense of the environment.
Before scheduling a visit, take a moment to consider what to look for when touring a house for your parents. You can even ask to stay overnight if you’d feel more comfortable observing the facility for an extended period.
A reputable assisted living community will never object to allowing you to observe and evaluate its facilities. Take your time to meet the neighbors and join an activity or two to get a real feel for what it will be like for your parents to live there.
When touring the assisted living facility, check the appearance of all spaces. Look beyond the neatly arranged furniture and organized bookshelves into floorboards and rugs for dirt and grime and stains.
Also, be aware of odors and bring them up to the staff and management to see how it gets handled.
Try getting to know some of the staff on your visit. Are they kind and compassionate? What are their back-stories?
Staff should be ready and willing to help at a moment’s notice without hesitating. Watch how they interact with other residents and what happens when a resident is tough to deal with.
A good living place for your parents should also have outdoor areas where they can enjoy a little sunshine.
Ask the staff to show you the outdoor areas, and inquire whether their break areas are close by or on the same grounds. It would not be appropriate for break areas to allow smoking since your parents will be hanging out there.
Don’t hesitate when it comes to the questions to ask assisted living facilities. It’s a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You should feel confident and secure in the establishment before making a final decision.
Likewise, you should ask the same questions and perform the research necessary if you’re searching for assisted living arrangements for yourself. It may be wise to tour the facility with a trusted friend who can help you make observations from an unbias standpoint.
When you’re ready to make the transition to assisted living, feel free to contact us. We have two locations that serve the Tampa area, and we’re sure you’ll be impressed.