45 Questions to Ask About Care on an Assisted Living Tour

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As you embark on assisted living tours, you probably have a million questions running through your head: What is the food like? Does the community offer more than Bingo? How much does it cost?

But one of the most important factors to consider is the care your loved one will be receiving. You don’t want to let a pretty facility mask that the care services offered just aren’t right for your loved one.

Of course, it’s nice to have the bells and whistles — the beauty salon and barbershop, the pub and library, the outdoor courtyard and community living room with a fireplace. But it’s the people who are providing the care who truly make a difference.

“Most assisted living communities are these big, beautiful buildings and the only different thing between us are the people in it,” says Lindsay Redin, Executive Director of The Ivy at Ellington.

That’s why asking assisted living team members about their care philosophy and getting specific about how your loved one’s personal and health care needs will be provided is so important.

Here are some key questions to get you started.

8 Questions to Ask about Personal Care During an Assisted Living Tour

It’s important to not only consider your loved one’s current care needs but also what their future needs might be, says Jason Rieger, Executive Director of The Ivy at Watertown.

“Although most assisted living communities offer similar services, no two are the same,” he says. “Make sure you ask what services and care are provided. As your parent’s health changes, how will their needs be met?”

1. What criteria do you use to determine whether this community is appropriate for my loved one’s needs?

2. What kind of assessment is done to determine my loved one’s needs? What are the qualifications of the person conducting the assessment? How often is the assessment done?

3. What happens if my loved one’s needs change — if they need more help, become incontinent, become confused?

4. How does the community tailor the schedule for bathing and dressing to accommodate the preferences of residents? Can changes be made?

5. How does the community help residents maintain their abilities to care for themselves, especially in regard to toileting, dressing, and eating?

6. If a resident displays a difficult behavior, what steps will the community take?

7. How often is the room cleaned?

8. Is there a schedule for staff to check on a resident’s whereabouts and well-being?

11 Questions to Ask about Care Staff During an Assisted Living Tour

“Working at an assisted living community requires passionate, kind-hearted people motivated to make a difference in other people’s lives,” says Jonathan Athanas, Executive Director at The Arbors at Dracut.

Research shows that assisted living communities with full-time registered nurses and direct care with in-house nursing staff have a positive impact on residents’ lives.

9. How many staff are there for each shift? What are their responsibilities?

10. What is the training and certification of the people who care for residents? What are the trainer’s qualifications?

11. Is there a nurse on staff? What are the nurse’s hours and responsibilities?

12. Who is responsible when the nurse is not on duty?

13. If a nurse is not on staff, are there regularly scheduled visits by a nurse or other health provider?

14. Does the nurse or provider see residents regularly?

15. How many residents are assigned to each direct care staff person? What other duties do direct care staff have during these hours?

16. Is there special training for staff about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? How long is the training?

17. Are staff trained to deal with sundowning and wandering?

18. What if my loved one doesn’t like the staff person assigned to them?

19. What is the staff turnover rate?

2 Questions to Ask about Care Emergencies During an Assisted Living Tour

Most assisted living communities have fall prevention and reduction programs in place as well as services designed to enhance the overall health and well-being of residents, but emergencies can still happen.

20. Who decides whether to call 911? Are there written policies about how that decision is made?

21. What kind of emergencies are staff expected to handle, and how are they trained for them?

11 Questions to Ask about Health Care During an Assisted Living Tour

Assisted living communities aren’t designed to provide medical care — those are nursing homes — but the community should be able to meet the medical needs of your loved one, especially if the community has an aging in place philosophy. It’s important to evaluate the community’s capacity to manage your loved one’s health care needs, even if they are healthy now, because they may need more help in the future.

22. Does the community prepare a written plan describing how it will care for my loved one? How often is it revised?

23. What professionals are involved in the development of this plan?

24. How will my family and I be involved?

25. What involvement does a confused resident have?

26. What if I don’t agree with the community’s plan of care?

27. To what extent will the community monitor my loved one’s health?

28. If my loved one doesn’t feel well, how quickly and to what extent will they receive medical attention?

29. What health services are available on-site (e.g., lab work physical therapy, wound care, hospice, social work, podiatrist, etc.)? What does the community provide, and what can outside agencies provide? What are the costs?

30. Under what circumstances and when does the community call the family? What about the doctor?

31. Is transportation to a health appointment available? Are there any limitations?

32. Is transportation wheelchair accessible?

4 Questions to Ask about Medications During an Assisted Living Tour

Although your loved one might be healthy now, they may take a variety of medications and, one day, require assistance or supervision.

33. What safeguards are in place to ensure that my loved one gets the appropriate medications on time and in the correct dosage?

34. How are prescriptions filled? Must my loved one use the community pharmacy? What are the costs?

35. Who gives out medications? If not a nurse, how are staff trained and supervised?

36. Who reviews medication procedures and how frequently? What are their qualifications?

9 Questions to Ask about Memory Care During an Assisted Living Tour

If your loved one is just starting to struggle with memory loss, they probably don’t need to move into a specialized memory care environment just yet. But it’s better to choose an assisted living community that also offers a memory care community.

“Make sure you see it all,” says Carrie Wilson, Director of the Reflections Memory Program at The Ivy at Ellington. “You may never need it, but if you do, you want that memory care to be the best!”

37. Is there a separate area specifically for people with memory loss?

38. How do services in the special care unit differ from services in the rest of the community?

39. What is the difference in staff training? The staff-to-resident ratio?

40. Do residents go outdoors regularly? How often? Where do they go?

41. How do you ensure that the resident is getting proper nutrition? Are finger foods available? Do you offer drinks throughout the day?

42. Is the calendar of activities appropriate for the residents?

43. What is the community’s policy on restraints, both chemical and physical?

44. Is there space to walk around in the memory care community?

45. When rooms are shared, what does the community do if problems arise?

It might seem like a lot of questions, but this is an important decision. You’re entitled to ask as many questions until you feel satisfied that the assisted living community meets your loved one’s wants and needs.

For more tips to help you feel confident in your final selection, download our How to Choose the Right Assisted Living Community eBook.

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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    This guide will go over what you need to know before you make a decision.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    This guide will answer questions you may have about the costs of assisted living and recommend resources to help you pay for it.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    Often, many adult children avoid bringing it up because it can be a sensitive topic.

    This guide will provide you with helpful tips and insight on how to have a productive conversation with your parent and siblings regarding your parent’s future.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    This guide will provide you with skills and knowledge on how to handle difficult behaviors your aging parent may be experiencing.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    There are many questions to answer before making the decision to take care of a loved one.

    This guide will provide answers to questions you may have on this topic.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    What does medication and illness have to do with depression?

    How can you help? In this guide, you will be provided with answers to the difficult questions you may have about depression.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    This guide will provide you with resources and tools on how to identify depression, what are the common causes of depression, and how to promote mental health in your aging loved one.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    In this guide, you’ll find answers to the most common questions asked about assisted living.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Where do you start searching for assisted living or memory care communities?

    What qualities in a community should you look for? How do you know you made the right decision?


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    Yet older adults are among the most vulnerable during a crisis. That’s why it’s critical that seniors, and those who care for them, prepare for emergencies.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Moving to assisted living is a life-changing event.

    This guide provides tips and ideas on downsizing, what to pack and how to make the transition smooth for your senior parent.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    In this eBook, you’ll learn how to talk with family and friends about caregiving challenges, how to deal with a parent who is resistant to help, how to get more caregiving help from your siblings, and how to keep your job while caregiving.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Have you had to cut back your hours at work to care for your mom? Are you worried about administering medications or injections?

    Have you stopped getting together with friends, either because you don’t have the time or you’re too exhausted? Are you becoming the invisible second patient?


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    In this guide, you’ll learn about the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, including the early symptoms of dementia; the seven stages of dementia and the symptoms that typically accompany each one; and the signs it’s time to start exploring your memory care options.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Navigating adult sibling relationships can be a challenge, but coming together for the sake of your parent is important.

    In this guide, you’ll learn about common sibling conflicts that arise when caring for parents, strategies for getting siblings on board, and where to turn to for help.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Assisted living can be a touchy subject. No matter how you approach it, your parent is likely to have objections to something.

    As you help them transition to a new stage of life, it helps to be prepared with answers to their questions and concerns.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    A Guide to the Most Common Family Caregiver Challenges Associated with Caring for an Aging Parent.

    You’ll learn about the true costs of being a family caregiver, common family conflicts that can occur when caring for parents, and some of the unexpected challenges of caregiving.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    This checklist will help to make sure you are getting the most out of your visit to The Arbors.

    The list details what important questions to ask during your visit so you are able to make an enlightened choice and find the best assisted living community for your needs.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    If you’re unsure what Assisted Living looks like in real life, whether there is a difference with nursing homes or a desire to see how community life unfolds, then this guide is exactly what you need.

    A guide to discover the Care Team and a Typical Day in Assisted Living.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

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