With an ever-growing number of options, transitioning to a Senior Living community can be overwhelming.
Here are some crucial questions to ask on your next community tour. Their answers will help create the best transition and one that will last!
What makes your community stand out from the rest of the communities in this area?
If the answer is “our care,” ask for specifics. It is important to understand the level of care. Excellent care is expected of a healthcare community. When discussing levels of care, be sure they site examples. This helps all to understand and manage care expectations in the future. Not all senior living communities are equal. Read what senior living communities are and are not here (link to blog on Lifestyles and care levels)
Does the community have a management company?
If so, where is it located? How often do representatives from the management company visit the community? Having an involved property management company is critical to the health of the community, the caring staff, and the maintenance of the building.
Who owns the community?
This is a crucial question if not the most important. Are the owners local? Do they make regular visits? It is important to know that the owners are invested in its community.
If the above 3 questions cannot be answered, it may be time to tour another community. If they pass, let’s dive in deeper.
Do you have a Registered Nurse or a Licensed Professional Nurse overseeing the healthcare program?
While Assisted Living communities do not require that an RN or LPN be in the building overnight or on weekends, they are “on call” for any needs that the residents may have. If so, what hours is she/he at the community?
Are members of the management team at the community on the weekend?
You should be able to access a member of the management team every day of the week. The management team should be aware of what is happening during the weekend.
Can you provide a copy of the latest state survey? (For Assisted Living community only)
The State Health Department survey should be readily available for assisted living and higher-level care communities. This survey provides deficiencies the state survey team found and what steps the community is taking to correct them.
Now that you are confident with the foundational questions, let’s talk about the everyday. Is this a community that is everything you imagined and more? Virginia Woolf once said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” So, let’s begin this next set of questions with dining.
Who plans the menus? How are they planned? How often are they changed: monthly, quarterly, or by season? Are the residents encouraged to make suggestions for the menu?
If residents have menu input, ask for a specific example. Be sure to get a copy of at least one monthly menu if it is available. If possible, schedule a lunch and tour so you can see for yourself!
How are the activities planned? Do the resident’s likes and suggestions factor into the activities calendar? Are the activities meeting the resident’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs?
Ask for a copy of the latest calendar of activities and a newsletter if they have one. If a community has a way to communicate these activities to you then BONUS POINTS!
Who is the current Executive/Community Director?
Meeting the Executive Director and asking questions about why he/she chose this industry is important. This is the person who sets the standard for the rest of the community employment and ensures the most positive environment.
Most importantly: Talk to some of the residents!
This is their community. See what they have to say. They can give you valuable insight and potentially be a new friend and neighbor. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, ask for stories and examples that the current residents have shared with the management team about how living in this community has improved their lives.