24 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Assisted Living Community
When you’re touring an assisted living community (which we really do recommend), you’ll want to be sure to ask the right questions while you’re there.
But what are the right questions?
Often, whether we’re looking for ourselves or our loved one, we don’t know what questions to ask because we’ve never done this before. So, if you’re not sure what to ask, here’s a list of questions to ask when choosing an assisted living community—both of the community and yourself.
We’ve broken it down into categories and explained the thought process behind the questions, so you’ll know exactly why it’s important to ask these questions.
What To Ask When Touring an Assisted Living Community
Assisted Living Community Reputation
- What accreditations does the community have?
- How long has it been doing business?
- What sorts of reviews does the community have?
- Does the community seem receptive to resident/family input?
Why these questions are important: Right off the bat, you’ll want to make sure that the community you’re looking at is a licensed Residential Care Facility and is well-established. In the state of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Health licenses assisted living communities and conducts on-site inspections to ensure that the community is complying with state rules and regulations.
Quality of Care and Community Features
- Are the rooms/common areas clean?
- Do residents seem happy?
- Does the staff seem attentive?
- What is the staff to resident ratio?
Why these questions are important: A community should be clean and well-kept. The staff should be attentive and respectful of the residents. When you tour, keep an eye out for residents interacting with each other and staff. Do they seem friendly and happy? Is this the kind of environment you can picture yourself or your loved one in?
Related: Cost Comparison Worksheet: Assisted Living vs. Staying at Home
Safety and Location
- Does the community have required safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and sprinklers?
- Is the community secure?
- Is the community handicap accessible?
- Is there 24-hour availability with staff?
- Is the neighborhood in a safe area?
- Are things located in a convenient distance, and is transportation available?
Why these questions are important: Both private and communal spaces should be designed with seniors in mind. Overall, the location should feel safe, both in terms of neighborhood safety and on-site security measures. Make sure there’s someone on staff 24/7 to handle any emergencies and that the community has the proper safety equipment, such as a sprinkler system and emergency call system.
Amenities and Care
- What services and amenities are available?
- Is everything included in the fees?
- What is the food like?
- Is there social and recreational programming?
- How will you meet my/my loved one’s specific needs?
Why these questions are important: An assisted living community provides assistance with activities of daily living for seniors who need a little help from day-to-day. However, that’s not all they offer. Residents also get to enjoy services and amenities that make life at the community engaging and entertaining. When comparing communities, it’s helpful to look at the different services, amenities and activities to determine which community has the best offerings for your interests or those of your loved one.
- Can you bring pets?
- Are visitors allowed? When?
- How do mealtimes work?
- Will I/my loved one need to bring my/their own furniture?
- What happens if my/my loved one’s money runs out?
Why these questions are important: Many people come to assisted living communities with misperceptions. They assume that visiting hours are limited (like a hospital setting) or that you can’t bring a pet or personal furniture. This simply isn’t the case in most assisted living communities, which are designed to be as homelike as possible. Asking the staff about community policies will help clear things up.
Related: Choosing an Assisted Living Community: Why Continuum of Care Matters
Choosing an Assisted Living Community: Next Steps
After you’ve toured your top communities, compare the answers you received at each community. Then, you can make an informed decision on which community will be the best fit.
Remember, it isn’t just about care (although that is important, of course). It’s also about the feeling of the community and whether or not you or your loved one will be happy living there.
For a full guide on choosing an assisted living community, be sure to check out our comprehensive assisted living resource.