How to Tour an Assisted Living Facility
Talking about assisted living to an aging parent, one who is used to being independent and self-sufficient, can be very tough. But it’s a good conversation to have before you feel that it’s an urgent matter. Then, once you’ve started the conversation with your parents, you may wonder how to tour an as Assisted Living Facility. What steps do you need to take? Do you go alone or with your parent? What questions ought to be asked?
It’s important to go to your first visit informed and prepared so that you get the most out of this opportunity. Seeking guidance from a trusted advisor before you get started is always a good idea. Oasis Senior Advisors can help you plan your visit and can accompany you on tours if you like. Reach out today by filling out our easy online form or by calling 475.619.4123 or 914.356.1901.
What to Look for When Visiting an Assisted Living Facility
Tour during the busy part of the day. Don’t schedule your visit for very early in the morning or after dinner hour as you’ll not get a good sense of daily life. Find out ahead of time what activities take place each day and make your appointment to coincide with something your parent would be interested in. Chat informally with staff; do they seem happy, engaging?
Eat a meal. The daily dining experience is important to most people. Food is a source of enjoyment as well as nutrition. Dining is also a social occasion. When visiting with your parent, sample the dining service. You’ll get a feel for the food quality as well as a chance to chat with some of the residents about their experience there.
Get specific about personal care. What are the criteria for moving from one level of care to another? Under what conditions is a resident asked to move? In your discussions with administrators and caregiving staff, ask questions about how things work, such as bathing help, dressing assistance, personal interactions, and medication support.
Also, notice whether the residents look well-groomed, if their clothes are clean, and if they’re dressed for the season.
Use your senses. When you are on-site, use your eyes to notice whether all the spaces are clean and relatively clutter-free. Use your nose to suss out any underlying cleanliness or maintenance issues. Odors in a concentrated area may indicate a recent incident, whereas odors throughout the community may alert you to a bigger issue. Use your ears to get a sense of ambient noise and sound quality. Is it loud, distracting, TVs blaring, and music at cross-purposes? An environment like that would be stressful for anyone.
What is the staff vibe? Do they seem happy? You want to see good eye contact between staff and residents and evidence of kindness, humor, and empathy. What residents are doing? Do they seem engaged and happy, and what kind of interactions are taking place between residents and residents with staff. If the tone and mood are light and full of genuine warmth, you’ll have a good feeling about your parent moving in.
Is there outdoor space available to residents? Make sure that your parent will be able to get fresh air without difficulty, on their own, while staying safe. There should be shade available as well as comfortable seating.
What Questions to Ask an Assisted Living Facility
Prepare a list prior to your visit. You can be as detailed or as broad stroked as you want when asking for information. Anything from “Are pets allowed” to “How do you help residents who are suffering from depression?” A few of our favorites are: What can you expect for normal communication about your loved one?
- Who do you speak with if you have concerns? What if your loved one is not a ‘joiner’?
- Do fees increase? When? How are those increases communicated?
- Are there licensed personnel on staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
In the end, the most important questions are for you: Did you feel at ease during your tour? Was the staff attentive and welcoming? Can you imagine you or your loved one living there comfortably? Always trust your feelings and follow your heart. The ‘perfect fit’ community should feel right to you. Oasis Senior Advisors has a helpful guide to help you plan your tour and prepare your questions and checklist. Call us if you’d like one. We can even tour a facility with you. Dial 475.619.4123 or 914.356.1901, or simply complete our online form today if you want to schedule an appointment.