Moving your parent to an assisted living campus can be overwhelming, so knowing what questions to ask can go a long way in assuring your parent will be happy and comfortable in their new home. If your elder parent is worried they’ll lose their independence, here are 15 questions to pose when you’re touring each assisted living facility:
Will my parent still be allowed to drive, and what if they can’t?
Many assisted living facilities allow personal vehicles. Make sure there is other transportation available, so they have easy access to shopping, appointments, and other outside venues.
Will Mom have privacy?
Assisted living is not the same as a nursing home, so make sure the safety rules don’t invade your parent’s privacy. Your mom should have the choice to stay home for meals if she doesn’t feel like joining other residents. The key is to make sure she’s not inside because of illness or depression.
What security is in place, and have any crimes been reported?
Each apartment should have secure locks on doors and windows, and the campus itself should be safe. If they hedge on the answers don’t hesitate to contact the local police department to see if any crimes have been reported.
Will my parent keep up on their medical appointments?
The faculty should ensure your parent keeps their appointments, and will make sure they have transportation.
How will I know they’re taking their daily medications?
This is the “Assisted” part of assisted living! Staff should check each day to make sure your parent is taking their prescribed medications properly, and will also check on their wellbeing.
Are kids and grandkids allowed to visit?
Make sure there aren’t any major restrictions on visiting, and ask what the policy is on overnight and extended visits.
Can Dad bring his dog?
Pets are more than mere companions, and many assisted living facilities allow animals. Make sure to ask!
What opportunities are there for socializing?
Most facilities have open rooms where residents can comingle and socialize. Make sure you check these areas, and talk to any residents who are there when you visit.
What is the meal routine?
Most assisted living campuses offer both dining room and private in-home dining, so ask what the options and hours are as well as the menu.
What activities can my mom participate in?
Check out the current art, craft, exercise, and socializing activities that are on the current calendar and compare it to your mom’s interests. Ask to sit in on a class, and talk to the residents while you’re there.
Are there events and trips my parent can enjoy?
Many facilities plan trips to museums, shopping centers, baseball games, and other events for their residents; some also have on-site events. Make sure there’s a variety that includes things your parent is interested in.
Is there housekeeping service?
Some facilities provide full cleaning services that include linen changes and laundry, some only do basic cleaning. Some charge extra; some don’t. Make sure you understand what’s available and what fees are associated with each level of service.
Are there laundry facilities on site?
See if the apartment has hookups, whether there is a common laundry facility, and how hard or easy it will be for your parent to do their laundry.
Is cable TV provided?
Again, this may or may not be included in the base price, so make sure you know whether it’s an extra fee or not.
Will Mom have internet access?
More and more seniors are entering the digital world, so make sure Mom has internet access at low or no cost. That way she’s only a screen away from an online visit!