9 Questions You Need to Ask When Evaluating Senior Housing Options

When visiting assisted living facilities you need to realize that everyone you meet is trying to make a sale. You need to have the sense to see past the happy music and the “everything is awesome” facade to find out the truth.

Don’t get us wrong, there are many assisted living facilities that do in fact care for their residents by providing amazing service. However, there are many assisted living services that sneakily overcharge their residents and have a poor record. If you are looking for an assisted living facility for a loved one or yourself, your job is to ask as many questions as you possibly can. To make an informed decision, the following are 9 questions you need to ask.

What are the Visitation Rules?

Assisted living facilities should be fairly flexible as far as visitations are concerned. Any rules about banning visitors or placing limitations should be considered a red flag. Apart from allowing immediate family members to visit at any time, they should give access to doctors, lawyers, or independent caregivers hired by the resident. The only time the facility can ban visitors is when specified by the resident.

What are the Activities and Amenities of the Facility?

Don’t shy away from asking specific questions like, how often do the sheets get changed? The amenities of a facility determine the quality of life for the residents. Ensure facilities such as laundry service, medication management, and housekeeping are performed professionally and with care.

The facility should also have enough activities to keep its residents engaged and happy. Spa rooms, massage facilities, heated swimming pools, cafes, and a fully stocked library are pretty much standard amenities.

Do They Have a Qualified Medical Professional on Site?

The assisted living facility should have qualified nurses and other medical professionals on site to attend medical emergencies. This is apart from the caregivers responsible for reminding or helping residents to take their meds on time.  

What Trainings Do the Caregivers Go Through?

The quality of caregivers at an assisted living facility makes all the difference. They are responsible for interacting with the senior residents and thus their behavior and training goes a long way in determining the quality of life for the members. Apart from checking their qualification, it’s also important to enquire if the company performs extensive background checks before hiring a caregiver.

What is the Billing Procedure?

It’s important to understand how the facility is going to bill you for their services. Do you get the option pay monthly or do you need to pay for the year? Enquire about the services that are billed on top of the monthly payments. Sometimes some facilities and amenities are not included in the regular monthly rate.

Are they Prepared to Handle a Medical Emergency?

There should be a direct and precise answer to this question. Most reputed assisted living facilities follow a strict protocol to deal with medical emergencies and any ambiguity in this regard should be deemed unprofessional. As mentioned before, facilities always need to have a doctor or a trained medical professional present to attend to patients.

What do the Current Residents Have to Say About their Service?

Before choosing a senior living facility you should be allowed to speak with the residents. Don’t just speak to the members they introduce you to. Roam the facility and engage with residents and ask them about their experience. As a general rule, if the residents look distant and bored then it should be cause enough to look for other options.  

Do They Employ Appropriate Safety Measures?

Little things like anti-slip matting near the pool area and grab bars near the toilet make a huge difference. The facility should also have a security team and measures to deal with common disasters such as fire and storm. The staff members present at the facility should undergo regular emergency preparedness drills to ensure they are ready for disasters. The facility should also have provisions for storing lifesaving drugs in case their supplies are cut off due to an emergency.

How Far Are They Located from the Nearest Hospital?

Proximity to a good hospital is always a big plus. Losing precious minutes on the road can prove to be the difference between life and death. Most reputed facilities also have ambulances on standby to rush residents to the hospital in case of medical emergencies. Apart from asking them directly, you can always use Google Maps to check out the nearest clinics and hospitals.