What to Ask and Look for When Touring a Senior Living Community

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Searching for senior living

Finding the right senior living community is an experience that seniors and their children can explore together. With a curious mindset and the right questions to ask, the two of you can conduct your search with confidence. Here are some excellent questions to ask as you search for a senior living community.

What is the quality of life?

When you’re touring a prospective new residence for your loved one, the current residents are often your best resource. Ask them how they like living in their community. Take part in an activity that day and note the turnout and level of engagement. Review an activity calendar and go over it with your loved one.

Note the cleanliness of the living spaces throughout the community. If any sights, smells or sounds give you pause, don’t hesitate to ask your tour guide, a staff member or resident about it. It could be one-time occurrence, or it could be a larger sanitation problem. Ask questions until you feel comfortable with the explanation.

Don’t just stay inside — your loved one sure won’t! Nature is a place where we all enjoy activity as well as serenity, so be sure that there are ample outdoor spaces. Are they well-landscaped? Are there walking paths and gardens? If your loved one likes to garden, is there a place for gardening? Lastly, if security is a priority, ask about gates, monitoring policies and any recent incidents that you should know about.

Is this community going to provide adequate care?

Everyone has their own unique care requirements to get the most out of every day. Will your loved one’s needs be met at this community?

Be sure you know the difference between Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care. Be ready to help communicate the care needs of your loved one, and have specific questions on-hand to ask about how those needs will be met. Points to consider are assistance with medication, bathing, dressing and mobility.

Is the community designed to allow for your loved one to easily explore it and move about with maximum independence? Pay attention to how current residents get around, and ask them if they ever have issues with day-to-day living. As always, if you have any follow-up questions, be sure to ask.

What are the move-out policies?

Every community has a move-out policy, and you should be sure to understand it before moving in. Do they require a 30-day notice? Do they offer living options with graduated levels of care? Will your loved one need to move should needs change? What does the community look for to determine whether they can still care for residents? Ask these questions to avoid any unwanted surprises down the road.

How is the dining?

When touring a community, always be sure to sit down with your loved one for a meal as well. Ask about accommodations for dietary restrictions. Are there menu alternatives? How is the menu variation day-to-day, and week-to-week? What is the quality of food? Is it healthy and delicious? What is the quality of service? Does the dining room have a vibrant feel? Would you want to eat there again? Dining is central to everyone’s life, so be sure that you and your loved one are enjoying your meal together — you’ll have plenty of them!

Are the staff kind and caring?

The care staff at your loved one’s new community will be so important in elevating their quality of life. Be sure to chat with them during your visit to a senior living community, and ask residents how they like the care they receive. You’ll get an enthusiastic response from residents who truly appreciate their caregivers. And just by observing how care staff and residents interact, you’ll gain a window into the community’s level of care that will help you and your loved one make an informed decision when it’s time to move.

Can you afford the community?

The community of your dreams can only become reality if you can afford it. Some communities require large deposits for new residents, while others require month-to-month lease payments. Ask about any additional charges for extra services and amenities. How often does housekeeping arrive? Is there a linen service? Hair salon and barber shop? Make sure you know what is included and what’s not to avoid going over budget.

The search for a new senior living community is a fun and exciting process. It’s kind of like dating! And if you know what to ask during a senior living tour, you can ensure that your loved one finds the best possible match.

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