If you have decided to move a loved one into an assisted living home, you’re probably experiencing some relief that your loved one will be looked after and be living in a more secure place. However, you still need to ensure that the assisted living home you choose is the right one in terms of the facilities provided, level of assistance, care, cost and so on. Here are some important questions to ask in an assisted living interview to ensure that your experience with assisted living is a positive one:
Questions about cost
No need to hesitate, it’s best for everyone to ask plenty of questions about the cost so there are no surprises later. Ask about the monthly fees as well as the additional fees payable and what exactly these will cover. Are there different grades of care or different plans on offer? What exactly does each include and exclude? Does the facility cater to seniors who need higher levels of care, and if so, how much more will this cost?
Are all meals included or only some? Are a la carte options available? If so, what is the meal charge policy? Are utility charges included in the monthly fees (be sure to ask this, if the monthly charges seem surprisingly low)? Housekeeping is usually included in the monthly charges, but it is best to clarify what services they will provide exactly. What furniture and furnishings are provided and what will you have to carry along from home? Does the facility offer self-service laundry or is this service provided? If so, is it chargeable? Assisted living facilities typically have several recreational activities on offer. Be sure to ask what is scheduled and how frequently. Some activities may be chargeable so be sure to ask.
Be sure to clarify a few more things about costs and payments: is Medicaid accepted? What about LTC (Long Term Care insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income)? Some facilities may or may not accept private funds; so be sure to check this as well.
Questions about care
Remember, if your loved one seems unable to manage with some things right now, they may become progressively weaker and less able, and may need more assistance in times to come. If you want to start out with fewer services and then transition to a more comprehensive plan, is this possible? You should get a good idea of the number of staff employed and whether they are trained and licensed. It may be a good idea to ask about the credentials of the people who will be taking care of your loved one: whether the facility checks for any criminal record, whether there is a routine drug testing protocol and so on. Find out about the carer to resident ratio. This will give you an idea whether they are well staffed or stretched.
If you envisage yourself and other family members visiting the facility often, what are the rules and regulations regarding this? Are there restricted timings for visiting and is there onsite parking? Finding parking can be a chore in some parts of Dallas. Also ask about medical assistance; whether there is a doctor who is on call or an in-house physician; and about the protocol in case of an illness or emergency. Usually an assisted living facility will take care of medications, but it is always a good idea to check and confirm. Don’t forget to ask about any particular equipment your loved one needs or any requirement they have: ramps, stair lifts, handrails, modified bathrooms and so on.
Questions about the community
If possible, speak to other seniors living at the property to ask a few questions about the pros and cons of the place. Those who use the facilities would obviously be best placed to give you better insight into the place. Also observe their demeanor; whether they appear content, well-cared for and generally cheerful.
What are the activities that are organized for the seniors in the home and how frequently are these activities organized? Are there TVs for the use of residents, and if so, do they have cable? Remember, older people tend to enjoy shows more than others. Are there any hobby classes conducted, and if so, which are these? Ask about sporting facilities and other options for physical activity that are provided, in particular if your loved one is the outdoorsy sort and enjoys physical activity. Do there appear to be sufficient common or outdoor areas where residents can meet, interact and spend time together? Research shows that physical activity doesn’t just help those who have been doing it for years. Even those who begin physical activity between the ages of 70 and 85 can enjoy the benefits associated with it.
While you must ask plenty of questions, it is recommended that you visit the assisted living facility in person. This tells you more than the answers to any number of your questions. Actually, seeing the general upkeep of the place, the way that the staff interacts with visitors as well as with residents, the quality of furniture and the state of the amenities can all tell you a lot about how well the place is run and how comfortable your loved one will be there. Checking reviews from older residents and their family members could also provide great insight.