If you are searching for an assisted living community for a senior in the family, an important part of the process is taking a tour. Plan to visit once or twice so you can meet some of the staff and residents and get a firsthand look at community life.
Before you schedule your first tours, create a list of questions to ask. You’ll also need to pack a notebook and pen to document answers and observations. As much as you might think you’ll remember, it’s easy to confuse assisted living communities when you are visiting several.
Creating a List of Questions to Ask on a Visit to Assisted Living
Having a set of questions to ask on your assisted living tour will also help you stay focused on what is important. This list will give you a good foundation on which to add your own questions:
- How many team members are on duty for each shift? What are their responsibilities?
- How many residents are assigned to each caregiver? What other duties do caregivers have during their shift?
- What is the staff turnover rate for caregivers and other direct care workers?
- What happens when a resident’s care needs change?
- How often do caregivers check on an assisted living resident?
- When was the community’s most recent state survey and what were the results?
- What types of wellness programs (e.g., blood pressure checks) are offered?
- Does the community create a written care plan detailing how your loved one will be cared for? How often is it updated? Does family have input?
- What protocols are in place to ensure that each resident receives the appropriate medications at the right time and in the correct dosage?
- What is the process for filling and refilling prescriptions? Are residents required to use a particular pharmacy?
- How are over-the-counter medications handled? Can residents purchase and store them independently?
- Does a nurse or physician review the medication management program on a regular basis?
- How are fees structured? Are care charges included in the base rent?
- Beyond care and board, what expenses should a resident expect each month?
- How often are life enrichment activities offered?
- Are residents given the opportunity to go on outings to shopping centers, local restaurants, and more?
Questions Specific to Memory Care Programs
Is your loved one in the early stages of dementia or do you want to learn more about memory care neighborhoods just in case? You will need to ask some specific questions, including:
- Is there special training for staff about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? How long is the training?
- How is staff trained to manage sundowning and wandering, both common in adults with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia?
- Is there a separate, secure area of the community for residents with a memory impairment?
- If yes, are there dedicated dining and life enrichment programs?
- Are rooms in the memory care area private or shared?
- Does the community offer a secure outdoor area for residents who have dementia?
You’ll no doubt have questions specific to your senior loved one. However, the questions outlined above will give you a solid foundation on how to objectively assess an assisted living community.
Visit a Heritage Senior Community to Learn More
With memory care, independent living, and assisted living communities throughout Michigan and one in Indiana, families are sure to find a Heritage location to meet their needs. Call us today with any questions or to schedule your family’s private tour!