What Questions Should I Ask at an Assisted Living Facility?

If you are the adult child of an older woman who is considering the possibility of moving to an assisted living facility, both you and your mom undoubtedly have a number of questions. High on that list likely is what questions should you and your mom ask when visiting an assisted living facility. Through this article we discuss the essential questions that you and your mom should ask when visiting an assisted living community.

What is the staff to resident ratio?

In many ways, no question is more important when considering a particular assisted living facility than what is the staff to resident ratio. An assisted living community must be appropriately staffed to ensure that residents have access to the services that they require. There are some assisted living centers that attempt to scrimp when it comes to staff. In the end, it is residents that pay the real price when an attempt is made by an assisted living facility to try to better its bottom line by eliminating something that is extremely vital to residents’ needs.

Does the staff perform resident assessments?

Staff of an assisted living center really is on the front line. Staff is in the best position to know the state of a resident’s overall health and wellbeing in an assisted living community. As a consequence, most assisted living centers rely on certain staff members to perform resident assessments from time to time. When considering a particular community you will want to ascertain whether the assessments by staff occur, when that happen, and who will be involved in these evaluations. 

What types of social activities are available?

A major component of life in an assisted living facility is socialization. To this end, you will want to question facility staff about what social and associated activities are offered at a particular assisted living community. Examples of possible activities that provide an opportunity for socialization include:

  • Fitness or recreational offerings
  • Informational, enrichment, or educational programs
  • Parties and other events
  • Entertainment
  • Family-focused gatherings
  • Informal opportunities to congregate and spend time with other residents
  • Trips into town (shopping, movies, etc.)

Does the assisted living community provide transportation?

We just mentioned “trips into town,” which leads us to the next question. You will want to find out if an assisted living community provides transportation, how available transportation is for residents, and what type of vehicle or vehicles are available to transport residents. Oftentimes an assisted living facility provides transportation for activities that include:

  • Medical appointments
  • Dental appointments
  • Shopping
  • Religious services
  • Special activities

What are meals like at the facility?

As part of the due diligence process associated with seeking the most suitable assisted living community, questioning needs to occur about meals at the facility. In fact, a series of questions need to be asked. 

In this regard, you want to obtain information about the types of meals generally served at the facility. You will want to find out whether a resident has the ability to select from different entrees at a meal. You will want to find out what is and is not available in the way of specialized menus or diets. 

You will also want to ask questions about the manner in which meals are served. For example, does a resident always have to eat in the dining room or can a person have at least some meals in his or her private living quarters? Is there any flexibility with the times at which a resident needs to take meals?

What are rooms or individual living spaces like at the center?

A primary consideration when looking for an assisted living community to call home is specific living arrangements. You need to determine what types of living arrangements are available to residents. This can vary from single resident apartments to single resident rooms to shared rooms, depending on a specific assisted living community. 

How many residents live in the community?

Find out exactly how many residents reside currently at an assisted living facility. You also want to ascertain what the maximum number of residents can be at a particular center. In addition, make certain you know if a community has plans to expand. 

What are admission procedures?

You will want to obtain detailed information about the admissions procedures of an assisted living community. Bear in mind that these procedures can and do differ between assisted living communities.

What are the overall costs and fees?

A major area of discussion when considering an assisted living community is costs and fees. To this end, you need to make sure that you fully understand the full cost associated with residing at a particular facility. You need to make absolutely certain that you are aware of any additional fees that some facilities have been known to charge residents (but which may not be readily apparent during the consideration phase or when touring a community.)