Top 5 Things to Consider When Selecting an Assisted Living Community

If you need some help with some of your daily activities, such as dressing yourself or cooking, but you don’t need the full-time nursing care a nursing home provides, an assisted living facility may be a good choice for you. Not all assisted living facilities are equal, though. Consider these factors when you’re selecting an assisted living facility for yourself or a loved one.

Staff: Are the staff passionate about helping seniors, or do they view their job as something they have to do? The staff-to-resident ratio is also important. You’ll want to make sure that there are enough staff at the facility to meet your medical needs.

Ask about the turnover rate and how long each staff member, including the building administrator, has been with the facility. Staff that has remained with the facility for a number of years indicate that the building is being well-run.

Size: Smaller communities often provide a more intimate, family-like atmosphere with more individualized attention and services.  These communities also provide amenities such as activities, outings and transportation.  

Services and Care Provided: Ask about the services the assisted living facility offers. Most facilities offer dining services, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, personal laundry service, housekeeping, transportation, social activities, and wellness and fitness programs. Ask about the activities offered. As you tour the facility, observe the residents. Are they engaged in activities or just sitting in their rooms? Do they appear content? Ask about outings and who pays for them.

Ask about the care provided to residents. Help with bathing, dressing, and medication management is offered by most facilities. However, the laws in some states limit how much medical care an assisted living facility can provide, so it’s important to determine if the facilities in your area can give you the care you need.

Are ancillary services, such as physical therapy and hospice, available? Ask about the policies regarding responding to a resident’s medical emergency.

Cost: Ask about the costs and how residents are required to pay for them. Assisted living facilities have different ways of billing. Specifically, they can require upfront pay, monthly rent, offer a la carte services, or offer a tier system. Ask about programs that can help cover the costs.

Resident Satisfaction: Talk to residents and their families about what they like and dislike about the facility. It may feel awkward, but most people are willing to answer questions for potential new residents.

Make unscheduled visits during the evenings and on weekends to get an idea of the culture. Try to attend a meal. During your visits, observe how the staff interact with the residents and how residents interact with each other. Pay attention to how you feel when you’re in the facility. Does it feel like the right place for you?

Selecting an assisted living facility can be a daunting process. Though there are many factors to consider when choosing a facility, remember that how you feel in the facility is of utmost importance as well.