What to Look for When Touring an Assisted Living Community

Touring an assisted living community gives you an inside look at what to expect and what life there is really like. It is also the perfect opportunity to get answers to all your questions so you have a baseline for comparison with other assisted living communities.

When touring an assisted living community keep the following essential aspects in mind and be ready to ask all the important questions.

What to look for when touring an assisted living community

Cleanliness and accessibility

First impressions are important when touring an assisted living community. As you arrive, look around at how well-kept the grounds are and whether the buildings appear to be in good repair.

Inside, continue scrutinizing with an eye for cleanliness, brightness and spaces that are easily accessible to residents and are stair-free.

What’s life really like?

As you’re touring an assisted living community observe the residents and what they are doing. Look for signs of happiness like smiles and laughter, groups of residents doing things they enjoy together, and whether residents appear comfortable and content.

Unlike “nursing homes” of the past, modern assisted living communities are all about making life worth living for residents, putting wellness and well-being at the top of the list and providing a variety of ways to stay engaged, social and purposeful. Find out more in our blog, “Senior Living Communities and Nursing Homes: What Are the Differences?

When touring an assisted living community be prepared to ask the following questions:

  • Are there daily activities and events?
  • Is exercise and wellness a part of everyday life?
  • Is there live entertainment and planned outings?
  • Is local transportation available?
  • What are visiting hours for family and friends?

Download our free guide: Senior Living Options: A Step by Step Guide for Making an Informed Decision.

Interaction between residents and team members

While touring an assisted living community pay special attention to how team members and residents interact. Team members at the best assisted living communities treat residents as if they are valued friends and speak to them with respect at all times. Just as staff at a resort would treat visitors, assisted living team members should always be kind and ready to lend a hand with a smile.

Team members are the ones who put the “assist” in assisted living so if it appears residents are waiting for help or that there aren’t enough team members to do the job, that may be a red flag like those described in the healthgrades.com article, “7 Red Flags to Watch for When Finding Assisted Living.”

To best assess staff quality, ask these questions:

  • What is the team member to resident ratio?
  • What training/certifications/licenses do team members have?
  • Are background checks performed on all team members?
  • Are caregiver team members available 24/7/365?

Care availability

Touring an assisted living community should include attention to care and how it is provided. How care needs are assessed and provided can make the difference between a good assisted living experience and a great one.

Keep in mind that care doesn’t just include help with tasks like dressing or bathing but should extend to assistance getting around within the community and off-campus appointments, nutrition, and being safe and secure 24/7/365. For a deeper look, check out our blog, “How Assisted Living Improves Quality of Life in Retirement,” and ask these questions:

  • How is the level of care assessed?
  • Is there a written care plan and how often is it reviewed?
  • Is medication management available?
  • Is rehabilitation and therapy available?
  • What is the plan for a medical emergency?
  • Are residents able to move quickly to a higher level of care within the community?

Housing options

Touring an assisted living community should also include seeing apartment options, which have come a long way. There are often different floor plans to choose from, and each should be bright, clean and well-appointed and ready for move in. Also look for accessibility and safety features like grab bars, emergency alert systems, and walk-in showers.

Be sure to ask these questions:

  • What apartment choices are there?
  • Can residents decorate their apartments?
  • Can residents bring their own furnishings?
  • What utilities are included?
  • Are maintenance and repair services included?
  • Are housekeeping and laundry provided?
  • Are bathrooms shared or private?

Dining options

Touring an assisted living community should also include sharing a meal to best assess the quality of the cuisine. Expectations that were once very low are now greatly elevated thanks to nutritious chef-prepared meals and a variety of dining venues.

Here are a few additional questions to ask:

  • Are meals prepared fresh daily?
  • Do residents have choices at each meal?
  • Can special dietary needs be accommodated?
  • Can families enjoy a meal together?

When touring an assisted living community there are no stupid questions so don’t hesitate to ask about everything on your mind. Contact us to schedule your tour today! Download our free guide: Senior Living Options: A Step by Step Guide for Making an Informed Decision for more information about assisted living.

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