What Questions Should You Ask During an Assisted Living Community Tour?
April 8, 2019
Asking the right questions is an important part of choosing an assisted living community. These tips will help you know what to ask.
When families begin to explore assisted living communities for a senior loved one, knowing the right questions to ask is important. While a beautiful lobby and plush grounds are nice features, making an informed decision requires learning more about the community’s quality of care and how it operates.
Here are nine questions you’ll want to ask each assisted living community you are considering.
9 Questions to Ask When Touring an Assisted Living Community
- How does the community recruit, screen, and train its caregivers?
Quality care is dependent upon having experienced, compassionate caregivers. Ask questions that help you determine how team members are recruited and screened.
It’s also important to learn more about the community’s training program. After the initial orientation and training period, what else is done to help team members continue to learn and grow as professionals?
- Pay attention to relationships
This tip is more of an observation than a question, but it’s an important factor in making a solid decision. As you are touring an assisted living community, pay close attention to the relationships and interactions between staff and residents. Do residents seem happy and engaged? Do staff members know residents and family members’ names? Facial expressions and body language can tell a story so it’s essential to pay attention.
- What is the community’s staff turnover rate?
Caring for older adults isn’t easy, physically or emotionally. That’s why the staff turnover rate is higher in assisted living and memory care communities than in independent living properties. A staff turnover rate that is too high, however, may be a sign that an assisted living community isn’t well-managed.
Remember, when staff turnover is low, residents, caregivers, and families have an opportunity to get to know and trust one another. This promotes stronger continuity of care.
- How many caregivers are there for residents?
The caregiver-to-resident ratio is an important factor in providing quality care. When an assisted living community is well staffed, caregivers have ample time to spend with each resident. Staff members are also able to detect small changes in health and intervene early when they aren’t rushed.
- What happens if a resident needs more care?
Sometimes a senior’s needs change after they move to an assisted living community. Make certain you ask what will happen if your loved one needs more assistance. Can they get more help at the community or will they need to move again? Moving can be difficult at any age, but especially so for an older adult with declining health.
- What does the monthly fee include?
Every assisted living community prices their services differently. This can make it difficult for families to compare the cost of one assisted living community with another. Ask for a detailed list of what is included in the monthly fee. Just as important, ask what additional expenses you should expect each month.
- How often do monthly fees increase?
Expenses associated with operating an assisted living community increase each year. Caregivers earn raises, the cost of groceries goes up, as do supplies, insurance expenses, and utilities. Make sure you understand how much rates typically increase and how often. Also, ask how much notice your family will be given before rates go up.
- Where can you see a copy of the community’s state survey results?
Every state regulates assisted living communities differently, but they all conduct surveys to ensure that rules are being followed. Ask the sales person or the executive director where you can review the community’s state survey results. Some states publish them online to make it easier for consumers to gain access.
- What documents will you be required to sign?
Before you leave the community, ask for copies of the documents you would be required to sign should your loved one decide to live there. Then take time to review them and make a list of follow-up questions. You’ll want to make sure you know how deposits are handled, how much notice you will need to give if your family member wants to move again, and other financial details. Some families find it helpful to have an attorney review the documents and point out any potential concerns.
Talking to a Senior about Moving
If you’ve been putting off having a conversation with your senior loved one about moving, know that you aren’t alone. Many adult children view this topic as a tough one to handle.
We created “6 Tips for Talking about Assisted Living with a Senior” to help families like yours. You’ll find suggestions for everything from what words to use to how to handle resistance. You can also call Legacy Senior Living at 423-478-8071 with any questions about assisted living!