Finding an assisted living community that matches your budget, lifestyle, and health requirements can seem overwhelming. If you are struggling to find a place to start your search, picking up the phone is the first step in setting up a tour of assisted living communities in your area of choice. A tour is a wonderful way to experience the community firsthand while hearing about the programs and services available.
While on your tour, you will be inundated with information. It is wise to take notes so that you can keep the communities straight when you return home to narrow down your choices. Along with your note pages, have a list of questions prepared that you ask during your tour. Prepare your list of questions before any tour, and address each question at each of the communities you visit. The answers can help you choose your final few communities to continue the interview process with. Here are a few of our suggestions to get you started with your own questionnaire.
What is the monthly rent? What are the extra costs?
First and foremost, it is important to establish the budget requirements for the community. Find out what the rent cost is, and what that money includes. If items such as utilities, cable and WiFi access is not included in the monthly rent, ask for an estimate on those additional costs. Find out if there is a buy-in fee or an additional cost for medical acuity or assistance needs.
Do you provide the type of care I need to feel comfortable and stay healthy?
Assisted living communities do provide more care services than most independent living options. However, depending on your own health issues and concerns, you must find out if the community offers the help that you need to feel safe, comfortable, and healthy.
Do you have memory care available, should I need it?
Speaking of levels of assistance, if you are experiencing memory issues like Alzheimer’s Disease or another type of dementia, find out if the assisted living community you are touring has a memory care unit or “neighborhood”. If they do, find out the costs for those services and take a tour of that area as well, noting the programming and environment that supports residents with memory loss.
Do you have visiting hours or limitations?
Your assisted living apartment will become your home, and you need to know when/if family and friends can come visit you. If you love to entertain, or if you plan on hosting Thanksgiving even when you are in your new apartment, find out the spaces available for larger gatherings that extend past your apartment walls.
May I see a menu from your dining room?
Assisted living communities often offer 3 meals per day in the dining room. You should check a menu to assure that you see choices and that you can find your preferences somewhere during the month. Follow this up by asking if you can attend a meal as a guest; there’s nothing quite like experiencing the dining experience for yourself.
May I see an activity calendar?
Staying socially engaged is a benefit of community living. Review the activity calendar for the community, noting if you see activities that you may be interested in. Look for a variety of small and large group activities, exercise classes and bus trips. Finally, ask if you may attend an activity to check it out for yourself.
These questions will help you develop your own questionnaire to assure that you are investigating communities well. The more you know in advance, the better you will be able to narrow your decision as you search for the community that meets your expectations. Good luck!