5 Questions to Ask when Searching for Senior Care - AHealthyLifeForUs.com

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

5 Questions to Ask when Searching for Senior Care

You can begin searching for senior care for your parent or senior loved one as soon as you can. Although this search can feel daunting initially and this is why we have gathered some questions you will need to ask as you connect with and tour your possible options.


Does the community have a good reputation?


  • Check out the online reviews for this community on sites like SeniorAdvisor.com. The best ways to see what others’ experiences have been like at any given community is to read online reviews of senior living communities.
  • Check the community’s licensing status. This is a special place for mom as provision of links to each state’s licensing website where they can check for current and past violations is made.
  • Get referrals from family and friends. What, if anything, have they heard about this community? Have they placed a loved one there before? Would they recommend it?

Are the environment and location right for your senior loved one?


  • Cleanliness and upkeep. What does it smell like? Besides the obvious places, do you see a lot of dust or dirt? How is the lighting? What about temperature? Observe the upkeep of the floors, ceilings, windows, and electrical fixtures – do they look clean and safe? Ask about housekeeping options.
  • Location, location, location. Is the community too far for family and friends to visit? Depending on your loved one’s age upon moving in, consider how long he or she may plan to live there. During their more active years, they’ll go out and engage in the city or town in which the community is located – will your loved one be happy here?
  • Safety and security. How secure is the building? How and when are doors locked? How can your loved one let someone know when they need help? Will your loved one be able to navigate easily between their room and common dining and activity areas? Are there common indoor and outdoor spaces for residents to enjoy themselves? Are these areas safe and secure, and designed for the elderly to get around without injury?

Is your loved one eligible to live in this community?

  • Determine the aging and care restrictions that may affect your loved one’s eligibility. You need to know if there is a minimum age for accepted residents. Are your loved one’s specific medical needs adequately addressed here?
  • Make sure you understand how the pricing system works. Be sure you have the right understanding of what is and what is not included in the price you are going to pay. For instance, therapy sessions, medication, transportation, meals and more may not or may require additional fees. You also need to determine what is covered by insurance and what forms of payment is acceptable by the community. 
  • What are the rules on grandchildren and pets? Are grandchildren allowed to visit or not? If they are allowed to visit, what are their limitations on visiting hours? Can they spend the night? Are pets allowed to move in too? For the pets, are there any sizes or breed restrictions?

What are your loved one’s care needs?

  • Ask about the staff. Inquire into the training and licensing required for staff to be hired. Are there CNAs, doctors, nurses available or on call? What is the caregiver: resident ratio? How is medication distributed? How does staffing change at night?
  • Depending on your loved one’s age and health, consider how long they will reside in this community. It can be difficult for everyone when a move is required, so consider Aging in Place for a younger and healthier loved one. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) that offer Aging in Place may be the best fit for an active loved one whose care needs may increase as they age.
  • Determine the type of care and housing option your loved one needs. Is your loved one fairly independent, but looking to thrive in an environment with other active peers their age, with access to community amenities and a doctor on call? Independent living may be for them. On the other hand, if your loved one needs assistance with some daily activities such as eating or grooming, they may require assisted living. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s, consider memory care. Finally, if finances are a limiting factor, you may need to look into senior apartments (for more independent seniors) or skilled nursing facilities in your area.

Will your senior loved one to fit in with the resident culture and lifestyle?

  • Assess resident demographics. What is the average age of the residents? Are there mostly couples or single residents? If religion is important to your loved one, will they find like-minded individuals here? Are there enough men or women for your loved one to feel comfortable?
  • Besides care needs, consider other factors that contribute to your loved one’s overall satisfaction and quality of life. Are residents well-groomed and happy? How do they interact with each other and with multiple levels of staff? Do you like the other residents? How about the staff? Are there clubs or activities that will interest your loved one?
  • Get a feel for the resident culture. Glance through the activities program to see if they cater to a more or less active lifestyle and whether that lifestyle will work for your loved one. You can also ask if you can have a meal with some of the residents to see what the dining experience is like. You will be able to know if your loved one will be able to work with other residents effectively.
  • Meet with the caregivers and staff that would be interacting with your loved one, not just the marketing or sales team giving the tour. How do they interact with the residents and with each other? Does your gut tell you that they interact with the residents and with each other?


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