What To Look For; What To Ask
- Are the grounds attractive? Is the building well kept?
- Is it handicap accessible—are hallways and doors large enough for wheelchairs and walkers? Are there handrails in the hallways? Are there elevators as well as stairs?
- Is it well lit?
- Does it have a pleasant smell?
- Do you like the facility’s layout?
Is it easy to find your way around?
- Is there security on the grounds 24/7?
- If you a placing a loved one there, how far is it from your home?
- Is everyone at every post (front desk, maintenance, housekeeping, healthcare, dining room) appropriately dressed, pleasant and attentive?
- Is the front-desk staff friendly on the phone and when greeting you?
- Are your phone calls and emails responded to promptly?
- Is it easy to reach someone by phone? Is it easy to leave a message?
- Do staff members know the residents and address them appropriately?
- Are the common areas active?
- Do residents look well, happy, and are they socializing?
- Feel free to ask residents about life in their community and their satisfaction with the community’s services.
- If the property has a newsletter and/or monthly calendar of events, be sure to get several issues.
- What dining options are available? Is their more than one dining room? Can you have meals to-go or delivered? Is there an extra charge for that?
- Which meals does the dining room serve? How many meals are included in your monthly fee?
- Is the dining room full at dinner?
- What foods are available every day? (Salad, hamburger, grilled chicken, baked potato, etc.
- Ask for sample monthly menus
- Plan to dine in the dining room at least once, if not more
- Does the food taste good? Is it presented with pride? Are portions to your liking?
- Is there a private dining room should you wish to host a special event?
- What services are available? Laundry?Housekeeping? Transportation to shopping and special events?
- Is there transportation to private appointments?How often? How far will they take you?
Is there an extra charge?
- Are there on-site recreational facilities?
- What activities are available daily? What special events are offered? (Get a calendar.)
- Is there on-site hair care?
- Newspaper delivery?
- Are their accommodations for overnight guests?
- Do assisted living and skilled nursing offer assistance with Skype or Face Time so out-of-town relatives and friends can visit with resi-dents?
Costs & Contracts
- What exactly is included in your monthly fee?
- Which utilities and services are extra?
- When and how much can fees be raised?
- What happens if your funds run out?
- Do you need renter’s insurance?
- What can result in termination of your lease/contract? What are your rights as a resident?
- What is their grievance procedure?
- If buying into a CCRC, be sure you receive a contract and a financial disclosure
- Read your contract and understand everything in it. If you don’t understand something, consult an attorney.
Your Living Space
In Independent Living:
- What floor plans are available?
- Are their pull cords throughout the residence in case of accident or emergency? Is 24-hour emergency response available?
- Can you control your own heat and air?
- Is the bathroom wheelchair and walker accessible?
- Can you open your windows?
- Can you have a washer/dryer in the apartment or do you use a common laundry?
- Who has access to your apartment or home?
- If the campus has assisted living and/or skilled nursing, how does the transition work?
- Can you arrange to stay in an apartment overnight or longer to try the place?
- Are pets allowed? What are the restrictions?Is there a place to walk dogs? Is there a dog walker available?
In Assisted Living & Skilled Nursing
- Can you lock your windows and doors? Who else has access to your room?
- Can couples live together in assisted living and/or skilled nursing rooms?
- Are rooms private or doubles? If doubles, can you request a private room—if so, what is the charge?
- Are pets allowed? What are the restrictions?
For Independent Living:
- Is there medical staff on site? What are their hours?
- What healthcare services are offered onsite? (Medication management, care during illness, physical therapy, etc.) What is the cost?
- Can you hire home care if needed and remain in your independent living apartment?
- At what point of care does a resident need to move from independent living to assisted living and who makes that decision?
- What are your rights should you disagree with that decision?
For Assisted Living
- Is this a licensed assisted-living facility or multi-unit assisted housing (MAHS) with services?
- What healthcare and daily-living support services are available?
- Are services all inclusive or offered as levels of care?
- What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
- At what point of care does a resident need to move from assisted living to skilled nursing and who makes that decision?
- Is there a dementia care unit? How is their staff trained? What special services are offered?
- What are the daily scheduled activities?
- What is the staff turnover rate in this unit
For Skilled Nursing
- Are they licensed by the state? Does this facility have any violations?
- Can you choose your own doctor?
- What healthcare and daily-living support services are included in the fee? What is extra?
- What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
- What is the staff turnover rate in this unit?