75+ Assisted Living Questions to Ask

elderly couple sitting on a bench outside

As you embark on the journey of choosing the right assisted living community for you or your loved one, this guide will help you remember the must-ask questions when researching or touring from place to place. From understanding the atmosphere and available health and wellness services to the unique aspects that make St. Andrew's a community full of care and love, we want to assist you in making informed decisions that align with your values and aspirations for a fulfilling senior care experience.

Keep reading to discover questions that will help you evaluate the senior living options ahead of you...

Questions to Ask At the Beginning

From the beginning of the process, always keep the future in mind. Even if you or your loved one doesn’t need much assistance now, that could change down the line. The last thing you want is to suddenly need more care and have to do this process all over again. These should be some of the first questions you ask upon stepping through the doors of a community. 

Example Questions:

  • What types of long-term care does the community have? Just assisted living, or does it also have independent living, memory care, etc.?
  • Can residents smoothly transition to a higher level of care if needs change?
  • Can residents receive medical services (such as physical, occupational, or speech therapy) without having to leave the community?
  • How much help can a resident get with activities of daily living (ADLs)?
  • Does the facility offer memory care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of memory loss?
  • Are there services in place if a short-term rehabilitation is needed?
  • What is the average age of the typical resident?
  • What is the community’s reputation/rating?

Questions About Social Activities and Lifestyle

All senior living communities have activities. Your job is to evaluate the quality of a community's activities and how they will engage a senior socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Ask questions to see if the community goes beyond bingo games, like providing opportunities for visiting guest speakers, live music, movie nights, and events outside the facility.

Example questions:

  • What is the schedule for all activities in the community?
  • Is the schedule of activities varied enough from week to week?
  • Who oversees the activities and services provided for residents' well-being?
  • Does the community allow residents to live as independently as possible?
  • Do the residents have opportunities to interact with people from nearby communities?
  • Are there any limitations on visitors?
  • If able, can a resident go on independent outings
  • Can visitors take residents out on independent outings?
  • How do transportation services work? Is driving still possible?
  • Can residents arrange for transportation to places like shopping malls, grocery stores, and doctor's appointments?

Questions about the Rooms

A new home cannot really feel like home if a person doesn't like the space they're living in. As the place where the seniors will spend almost half their time, the questions about the rooms may be some of the most important when choosing an assisted living community. Of course, questions may come about when actually inside the room, but here are a few to think about before the tour. 

Example questions:

  • What are the room types available?
  • Are the rooms mostly shared or private?
  • If shared, how are roommates selected?
  • What is the floor plan of a typical room?
  • What are the bathroom facilities like? Are they up-to-date?
  • Are bathrooms equipped with safety features such as grab bars and step-in showers?
  • Are there multiple lighting options for each room?
  • Are there emergency pull cords or other types of safety systems used to alert nursing staff when a resident falls or experiences another medical emergency
  • Do the rooms have refrigerators or microwaves?
  • Can a resident customize their room?
  • Do all the rooms have windows with a pleasant view?

Questions about the Dining

Most assisted living communities provide three nutritious meals a day, but there are many other things to consider that may make one place more accommodating than the other. For example, some places may be better equipped to help people with high blood pressure or heart disease by offering low-fat, low-sodium meals. Moreover, it may be important to some people that a community prioritizes home-cooked food using fresh and natural ingredients. A variety of dining options is essential for a happy life.

  • What is a typical menu?
  • When are meals served? 
  • Are snacks offered in between meal times?
  • What is the condition of the community’s kitchen? Is it well-stocked and sanitary?
  • Is the dining room clean and orderly?
  • Are kitchen staff members trained to accurately manage dietary restrictions?
  • Are residents allowed to keep food or snacks in their rooms?
  • Can family members share a meal with residents?
  • Do facilities exist for families to host private parties?

Questions about Amenities

Residents in assisted living communities can expect the facilities to be well-kept, with services designed to engage them and help them stay healthy. If there aren’t common areas or opportunities where a person can gather with other residents, then a resident may be forced to spend a lot of time in their apartment, leading to a lower quality of life

Example questions:

  • Is there a library, theater, billiard room, pool, etc.?
  • Is there a private dining room?
  • What are the policies related to pets? 
  • Is there a fee to have a pet?
  • Does the community provide housekeeping services in personal living spaces? What about laundry services?
  • Is there access to telephone, cable TV, and internet?

Questions about Finances

When an older adult moves into an assisted living facility, he or she is making a big financial decision. So consider if a care community provides the financial guidance needed to ensure a good investment for the future. Observe how a community answers questions about rent rates, costs, and other details because all financial information should be transparent and straightforward.

Example questions:

  • What financial guidance does the community offer?
  • What is the specific pricing, and does that change over time or based on the services used?
  • What is the discharge policy?
  • Is the facility financially stable?
  • What happens if a resident outlives their resources?
  • Is there a move-in fee?
  • What does the monthly fee cover? 
  • What additional services are not included in standard fees?
  • What are the policies related to transitioning to another unit or level of care? How might that impact someone financially?
  • What are the policies related to refunds?
  • What are the payment options?

Questions about the Outside/Structure

Getting outside for some exercise or a breath of fresh air is important regardless of age. As you look for assisted living, you’ll want to ask what kind of outdoor spaces and recreation areas are available in addition to looking at the campus's physical condition and location. 

Example questions:

  • What is the overall presentation of the campus? Is it clean?
  • Does the community have beautiful outdoor recreation areas?
  • Are there walking paths?
  • Is there a courtyard to enjoy nature or gather with friends?
  • Is it in a good location close to many senior-friendly conveniences?
  • How are the buildings and facilities maintained?  
  • Are there ample parking spaces for residents and visitors?
  • How secure is the community?
  • Are hallways easy to access, with plenty of lighting, handrails, and space for wheelchairs?
  • Are there clearly marked emergency exits, fire detectors, and sprinkler systems installed?

Questions about the Staffing

Finding staff members with a great attitude is critical—but so is finding team members who know how to engage with residents so that their retirement years are enriching and fulfilling. Try to look for a team of professionals who truly care about residents and want to interact with and be a part of their lives. Discern if the community leaders communicate energy and enthusiasm about their role because their attitudes will significantly impact a person's care. If you’re on an assisted living tour, see if team members know residents’ names and try to listen to conversations to get a feel for their friendliness.

Example questions:

  • Does the community have a highly engaged team?
  • Do staff members appear at all times to treat residents with care and respect?
  • How do staff members behave toward not just residents but visiting guests? Is there a warm greeting from staff inviting them into the community?
  • Are staff members appropriately dressed and professional?

Questions about Healthcare Professionals

The senior living experience may depend on how many in-house caregivers the community has hired compared to the number of residents. The community’s staff-to-resident ratio is an important factor in the quality of care a resident will receive.

  • What is the average number of trained care providers available on-site?
  • How many current residents are living in the community?
  • What happens if a new resident needs care beyond the skill level of the community’s staff members?
  • How many staffers work at any given time, including overnights?
  • What is the caregivers' training in such areas as safety, emergency care, first aid, mental health, residents’ rights, and medication administration?
  • Who is in charge of medication management and other healthcare plans?
  • Does the facility provide mental health care services?

Need help?

Making the decision to transition to an assisted living community is a significant step, and at St. Andrew's Assisted Living, we understand the importance of finding the right fit for your unique care needs.

Determining whether a community has cultivated an environment where you or your loved one can thrive will depend on the answer to each of the previous questions. It’s about evaluating a community as a whole. Dig deep and ask, “Can I see myself or one or both of my parents living here? Is this a place that’s full of life and promotes health, happiness, and wellness?” For help answering these questions and finding the right place, contact the caring team at St. Andrew’s.

Schedule a Tour at St. Andrew’s

At St. Andrew's, we believe in creating a nurturing and empowering space where residents experience daily opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment. Our person-centered assisted living care plan is strategically designed to prioritize the comfort and well-being of our residents.

Embracing the seven domains of wellness through our Vitality activity programming, we foster an environment that promotes emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental thriving. With a home-like atmosphere and around-the-clock care, our approach to assisted living ensures that each individual receives the personalized attention they require, whether it's assistance with bathing, dressing, medication management, or mobility.

Find out for yourself today. Contact St. Andrew’s to schedule a tour or to ask any questions.

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