One of the most important steps in searching for an assisted living community is making in-person visits. Families should plan to visit and tour each community they are seriously considering at least twice. One of those visits should be during evening hours or on the weekend. This will show you what the community is like during non-traditional business hours.
Making time to tour and ask questions lets seniors and their adult children get a feel for the community’s culture to decide whether or not it is a good fit.
We created this checklist to help you make the most of your visit. Our suggestion is that you print several copies of this list and pack a notepad before you head out on your tours.
Making the Most of an Assisted Living Tour
Here are few tips on what to look for beginning with the time you pull into the parking lot and continuing on as you make your way through the community:
- Is the neighborhood safe and well cared for?
- Does the community have ample, well-lit parking?
- If your senior loved one still drives, is there an easily-accessible garage or carport designated for residents?
- Is the exterior clean and free of debris?
- Are the grounds well maintained?
- What is your first impression as you walk to the front door?
- What kind of security does the community offer?
- Are exterior doors kept locked? If so, how do visitors access the community?
- Is there a staff member near the entrance to screen visitors before they are able to enter resident areas?
- Are the lobby and surrounding common areas tidy, clean, and odor-free?
- Are safety features like hallway handrails and grab bars in the bathrooms installed?
- Are resident apartments clean and well maintained?
- Does the apartment have enough space for your senior loved one and all of their most important belongings?
- Do residents appear to be well-cared for and dressed in clothing appropriate for the time of day and temperature?
- Are the interactions between staff members and residents positive and compassionate?
- Do the residents seem to be engaged in meaningful activities during your tour?
- Are there informal groups of residents chatting and socializing?
- Do staff members look you in the eye and offer a greeting or smile when you pass them?
Questions to Ask When You Tour an Assisted Living Community
Next are a few suggested questions you should ask the staff at each community you visit.
- How long is the average tenure of caregivers? Having an unusually high turnover rate can have an impact on the continuity of care in an assisted living community.
- What is the ratio of caregivers to residents during the day? And what is it in the evenings? Does it change on weekends?
- Does the company perform background checks on all employees prior to hiring?
- What type of training do caregivers complete upon hiring?
- How do caregivers keep their skills and knowledge updated?
- What services, amenities, and care are included in the monthly fee?
- What additional charges should families expect to be billed for each month?
- When your senior loved one needs more care, will they be able to receive it there, or will they have to move?
- Under what conditions would a resident be required to move to a different type of care community?
We hope this list will help you feel confident you are making an informed choice when it comes to choosing an assisted living community for a senior you love.