Assisted Living: What to Ask Before You Choose

Assisted Living: What to Ask Before You Choose

When seniors – or their families – start looking at assisted living communities there are several important questions everyone should ask. Most of these are pretty obvious – size, cost, location, etc. But then there are the less obvious – things that may not pop into your mind right away, but may actually turn out to be a deal breaker.

Here are some questions gathered from the experiences of other seniors. Take a look, mull them over, add your own and then ask the ones that you think will make a difference in whether your senior living experience is terrible – or terrific.

Keep in mind that not all of these things will be important to you. And just because one of them is an issue for someone else, it might not matter to you at all. Also, there is no right and wrong answer. For instance, some seniors might prefer to bring their own furniture to make a place feel like home, while others might not want the hassle or expense of buying new or moving it.

So if something really important doesn’t meet your expectations, consider it a possible deal breaker. Or if several of the lessor issues all come up on the wrong side of your list, you need to give that assisted living community a little more thought before packing your bags and moving in. Take a look.

For anyone:

  • How many residents live there?
  • What is the ratio of staff to residents?
  • What are the living accommodations like – an apartment, single room with private bath, single room with a shared bath or double room?
  • Is furniture provided or do you need to bring your own? What will fit?
  • Can residents put things on the walls? Do you do it yourself or does maintenance do it for you?
  • Is there a nurse on staff?
  • What types of activities do they do with residents?
  • Do they expect everyone to take part in activities?
  • Do they remind or invite residents to join in or do you need to remember and come down on your own?
  • Are the activities appropriate for the residents’ age, memory, interests and ability?
  • Do they offer transportation? As a group or individual rides? What is the cost per one-way trip?
  • Can you choose where and with whom you want to eat or are you assigned?
  • What is the food like? What’s a typical, breakfast, lunch and dinner? Is there ever a choice or does everyone get the same thing (unless they have special needs).
  • How do they accommodate special food needs? (Gluten free, diabetic, etc.)
  • Are there visiting hours? Can visitors dine with the resident? Is there a charge? Are reservations needed?
  • How does the waiting list work? Is there a deposit required to be on the list? How much? Does that amount go toward the monthly fee or to the company? Is it refundable if you change your mind?
  • What happens if you aren’t ready when they call with an opening? Do you drop to the bottom of the list?

Assisted-Living-What-to-Ask-Before-You-Choose-02For those who need very little assistance:

  • Can the residents suggest or organize activities?
  • Is there parking available? Inside or outside? Is there an extra charge for parking?
  • Are there laundry facilities or is laundry provided? Is there an extra fee?
  • Is housekeeping included?
  • Can you cook in your apartment?
  • Can you choose to only eat part of your meals with the group? Do you only pay for meals you eat?
  • How active/social are most of the residents?
  • Do they offer any outings? Where? How often?

For those with mild dementia or physical limitations requiring more assistance:

  • Does anyone assist residents with activities?
  • How is medicine handled? Is enough water provided to swallow a pill? How do they prepare pills if they’re large and difficult to swallow?
  • Is there a bedtime or curfew? What time do they help residents get ready for bed?
  • What time do they start getting people up in the morning? Is it done room by room or do they take into consideration that some people just wake up earlier or prefer to sleep later?
  • How often do residents get baths or showers?
  • Can they accommodate two-person transfers?
  • What type of clothes do they suggest for residents? (e.g. whatever you choose or easy to pull on outfits?)
  • How is laundry done? How often? Is it done individually or more than one person’s clothing at a time? How do they make sure clothes are returned to the correct room?
  • What do they do if clothes or personal items go missing? How do they find it?
  • If snacks are included, are they given to everyone or just people who ask or just if those at an activity?
  • Can you have their own food in your room?

What supplies are provided? (e.g. shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, Depends, etc.). What happens when the resident runs out of something? Do they have extra in stock or do they send someone for it? If so, how are you charged for that? Do they expect a family member to go get it?

Now that you’ve reached the bottom of the list, don’t let these questions overwhelm you! And don’t worry. Quality senior living communities, like Rittenhouse Village Assisted Living and Memory Care in Valparaiso will be happy to answer any questions you may have. While you’re bound to be happy with what you hear at Rittenhouse Village, not every community is right for every senior. The more you know in advance, the better the fit will be. And that’s a win-win for everyone! We have immediate openings. To reach us please call 219-531-2484! Or visit us at 1300 Vale Park Road, Valparaiso, IN 46383

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