10 questions to help choose a community
Choosing the right senior living community that aligns with your vision can be challenging. Whether you’re looking to simplify your lifestyle or get the care that you need to thrive, you may struggle to navigate the many options out there. To help you focus your research and planning, here are 10 questions to ask when trying to find the perfect community for you:
What care levels are offered? Is it 24/7? Is a continuum of care available?
First of all, you should ask about the care available at the community. Many senior living communities will offer several levels, including independent living, assisted living, memory care and more. Ask about whether you can switch between levels over time and whether care is offered 24/7.
What’s the living experience like?
Every community has a distinct feel. You should get a sense for every community’s atmosphere, especially the living experience. You’ll want to look at the available floor plans for the apartments, as well as how residents interact in common spaces such as the dining room.
What amenities and activities are available?
Some senior living communities offer a fitness center, spa, theater, game room and art studio, as well as a robust social calendar with events and outings. Of course, also ask about essential services such as dining, housekeeping, laundry and wi-fi.
What are the staff’s qualifications and ratio?
The staff at a community should include certified health aides, nurses and therapists. Sometimes an on-site physician will also be available. Ask about the staff’s qualifications and the current staff-resident ratio so you can get a sense of the personalized service.
What safety features are in place?
Ideally, a senior living community will include an emergency response system in every room, as well as security monitoring, health tracking and more. You’ll want to understand the community’s safety protocols so that you can feel confident in the event of an emergency.
What are the costs? Are they all-inclusive and transparent?
The cost of a community can be a determining factor. Ask about the costs for every level of care, especially if the pricing is all-inclusive. You can ask for a list of included amenities and services to ensure there are no surprises.
What dining options are offered?
Anytime dining is a must-have for many older adults who want to savor their favorite meals at preferred times of day and make the most of several dining options. Ask about the community’s different dining venues and menus.
How does the community connect with families?
Family connections help every resident thrive in a community. Ask about the community’s family outreach program and what type of events they plan to facilitate connections with family members.
What support for the move and transition is available?
The transition to community care can be difficult. Some communities will offer a moving stipend or other support services in order to make this transition as smooth as possible.
You can also take advantage of this checklist to aid your planning: bit.ly/CaringPlan.
Can I speak to residents directly about their experiences?
The most valuable information you can get is from current residents. Ask if you can talk to the residents about their experiences to get the inside scoop on how they feel about the community.