It can be overwhelming to visit an assisted living or memory care community for your loved one. This guide offers some suggestions and questions on how to handle a tour and some questions to ask. Remember to listen to your own intuition. Not only may you see and hear things that are obvious, but you may have a feeling about a community.
Observe the environment and the staff. Look to see if the employees are smiling or engaged with residents. Ask about activities and socialization. Consider bringing your mom or dad in for a meal beforehand to taste the food and see how residents interact with each other.
Use all of your senses— does it smell clean and pleasant? Does it smell like disinfectant or food?
Consider the length of hallways and the proximity to the dining room and how it relates to mobility issues. Ask about outdoor spaces to walk or sit. What about pets? Communities have different protocol on whether pets are allowed and the rules and requirements to have one.
Prepare your own list of questions to ask the sales or marketing director ahead of the tour. Here’s a good place to start.
- What will my loved one’s day be like? Walk me through a typical day of a resident. How will she/he make friends?
- What kinds of group activities are there? Do you have a bus to take residents out? Will you take her/him to the grocery store or shopping?
- How about privacy? Can she/he lock the door? Will people come in unannounced? Who will provide personal care?
- What is the protocol for an emergency? How do you handle a DNR?
(If you don’t know about this, do some research and ask questions.)
- How are meals served? Can she/he eat in the apartment? Who cooks the food? May I see a menu? What if he/she has dietary restrictions or is a fussy eater? Are there structured meal times?
- Do you provide transportation to a doctor’s appointment? Is there a charge? Can she/he have their own car?
- Do you have an in-house physician? How are prescriptions handled?
- What is the protocol for fire or tornadoes? Are there drills?
- Financial Questions:
- What do you require to know about finances?
- What are the monthly costs? What is covered? Are there any extra fees?
- Do you do an assessment to determine cost? Who does that?
- Is there an investment requirement in addition to monthly rent?
- Is there a community fee?
- What is the move-out policy? How long is the lease?
- Do you have any specials? When do they expire?