Caregiver Checklist: Preparing for an Assisted Living Tour
Moving to an assisted living community is a big change for retirees and their families alike. As a caregiver, you want to make sure your senior loved one will be happy and well cared for years to come. If you are helping a senior loved one find a place they will be happy to call home, here are a few tips to keep in mind when touring an assisted living community.
Step 1: Have a Family Conversation
Before you tour different senior living options, talk with your loved one about their needs and preferences. This will guide you on what to look for in an assisted living community for your loved one.
- How much help does your Mom or Dad need with daily tasks like dressing, bathing, cooking, or taking medication?
- What type of retirement lifestyle do they want? How important is socializing, traveling, or pursing other hobbies to them?
- Get a complete picture of your elder loved one’s finances, including income, assets and expenses.
Step 2: Do Your Homework
Research, research, research! Use the internet to find assisted living options in your area.
- Visit the community’s website to review services and amenities, as well as resources they share with families.
- Use Google Maps to see if the location is close to family and friends, shops, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies.
- Look for feedback to see what other adult children and caregivers are saying. Sites such as Caring.com and TheSeniorAdvisor.com make that feedback easier to obtain.
- Check out communities’ Facebook pages for an inside peek at activities and events that take place each week.
Step 3: Schedule a Visit
Next, it is time to pick up the phone and book a time for a tour of the assisted living community you are interested in.
- Find out if they are accepting new residents. If not, inquire about their wait list.
- If you would like to meet with residents or try a meal, let the community know when you call to book the visit.
- Try not to tour more than one or two communities in a day. It can be overwhelming to try to visit more and remember the unique qualities or concerns about each.
Step 4 : Prepare Questions to Ask the Assisted Living Community
The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) suggests caregivers ask the following questions when touring senior living communities:
On the way in
- Is the neighborhood safe? Do you like the location? Are there outdoor areas where seniors can walk and socialize?
- Does staff greet you warmly? Are they professional and friendly?
- Do residents seem happy and comfortable?
During the walking tour
- Are hallways well lit and easy to navigate, with handrails room for wheelchairs? Are elevators available? Are emergency exits marked?
- Is the community clean and appropriately heated/cooled?
- Is there adequate closet and storage space in resident rooms? Are cupboards and shelves easy to reach?
- What type of security is provided?
Types of Services
- How many meals per day are provided? How does the community cater to specific dietary needs or special requests?
- Is there a varied schedule of recreational activities? Are there some you think your senior loved one would enjoy and participate in?
- Is a nurse available 24 hours a day?
- Does the community have a special wing or floor for residents with dementia? Is it secured?
Choosing a senior living community is one of the most important retirement decisions an older adult makes. It is important to take your time and find the right fit. Preparation and planning are key.