What Questions Should You Ask on a Senior Living Tour?

  • April 26, 2018

If you or a senior loved one is exploring the idea of moving to a senior living community, you might be struggling to figure out what questions to ask and what to look for when you visit each community. It’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed by the whole process if you haven’t been through it before. We understand, and we want you to feel confident that you are asking the right questions to make an informed choice.

8 Tips for Touring a Senior Living Community

Here are a few tips for making the most of your senior living tours:

1. Is the community well-maintained?

While beautiful lobbies are nice to look at, they aren’t a real indicator of the quality of care offered by an assisted living community.  Cleanliness and a commitment to maintaining the community are. On your tour, pay attention to the condition of the resident rooms, common spaces, kitchen, dining room, and parking lot. Are they clean and well cared for? Is the community free from odors? Are repairs being neglected? Look for and make notes about these types of concerns.

2. Are resident-staff interactions positive?

Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues when you tour a community. It’s the best way to gain a true picture about the quality of resident-staff interactions. A sign you are in a quality senior living community is when you witness positive interactions between residents of the community and the caregivers and other support staff. Do both groups seem to be happy and engaged with one another? Do staff members greet residents by name? 

3. Pay attention to how the community makes you feel

As you tour each community, try to picture your senior loved one living there. Every senior living community has its own unique personality. Does the personality and style of the community seem like a good fit for your senior loved one? Trust your instincts on this. If the community doesn’t look and feel like a good fit, keep looking. 

4. Ask about staff turnover and longevity

Another sign of a well-run community is low staff turnover. While the stress and emotional challenges associated with caring for older adults can lead to caregiver burnout, too much turnover can interrupt the continuity of care for residents. Residents have to get to know and trust new caregivers more often when turnover is higher.

5. What happens when a senior needs more care?

As your senior loved one grows older, their need for care and assistance will likely increase. Will they be able to receive more care at the community or will they be required to move again? Moving is tough at any age, but doubly so for older adults who might not be feeling very well.

6. Be sure you understand monthly fees and extra costs

One issue families often find challenging is that there isn’t a standard pricing across the senior living industry. Each community follows their own unique pricing structure.  This can make it more difficult for seniors and their loved ones to evenly compare costs between communities. Make sure you ask every community what their monthly fees are, and what additional fees you should expect to pay each month. Also inquire about how often fees are raised and how much notice families are given before a price increase.

7. Review the community’s state survey results

Before you leave each community, ask to review their annual survey results. Most states require communities to make them available for anyone who wishes to review them. Some states also share survey results on the Department of Health or Department of Aging website. Take time to review the community’s last few surveys and ask questions about anything you don’t understand.  

Our final tip is to ask each community you are considering for a copy of all of the documents you or your senior loved one will be required to sign. Some of these contracts can be quite complicated, especially for those who aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of senior living. You might even want to have an elder law attorney review the documents and point out any areas of concern.

Schedule a Personal Tour

Each of the Five Star Senior Living communities welcomes visitors for tours. It gives us a chance to get to know your family and answer any questions you have. Call the community nearest you to set up a time today!

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