Choosing an assisted living facility for a loved one can be a difficult decision. Knowing what to look for makes the process less overwhelming. On your initial visit it is important to get a feel for the atmosphere of the community. Making observations and asking a few key questions can help give you a sense of the quality of care your loved one would receive as a resident.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Come prepared to make mental notes of what you observe about your surroundings. It is important to trust your instincts.
Does it feel clean and inviting? Is there a relaxed and friendly atmosphere?
Are the staff warm and welcoming?
Observe as the staff interact with the residents, do they treat the residents with kindness and respect? Does the care seem personal or impersonal? For example, does the staff refer to people by name? Does the staff listen and make eye contact?
Are the staff attentive or do they seem rushed? If they seem in a hurry when they interact with you or the residents that could be a sign that the facility is short-staffed and it also could also be a cause for concern regarding the quality of patient care.
Staying active and social is key to one’s overall wellbeing; evaluate if the residents are engaged in activities or if many are sitting alone.
Are the residents well groomed and dressed appropriately for the weather?
Do the rooms feel comfortable, or are the rooms hot and stuffy or too cold and drafty?
Questions to Ask the Staff During Your Visit
It is understandable that you will have a long list of questions about costs and the level of care. Before you dive into the details, it is important to assess your overall impression of the facility and the staff.
How many beds do you have?
What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
Are visits welcome at any time?
What are your security measures? How do you insure that residents don’t wander out of the building?
Can the residents go outdoors?
What services are available at your facility, for example do you have a hair salon? Are there additional costs for these services?
How often does housekeeping clean the bedrooms?
Tell me about your programs and activities. How do you keep residents active and engaged?