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January 12, 2022

Questions to Ask When Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

When you find yourself in what feels like uncharted territory, trying to find a safe and comfortable assisted living facility for a loved one, the first thing to know is, you’re not alone.

Feeling a little overwhelmed, apprehensive, and even a bit sad is all very normal. This is a new role, a shift in your relationship with a parent or other senior with whom you share close ties, and, frankly, a lot of responsibility.

Fortunately, the very fact that you’re seeking out information about how to choose an assisted living community (like this blog post!) means you’re on the right track. Arming yourself with knowledge will give you the confidence you need to make a decision about an assisted living facility that will serve your loved one’s needs.  

Where to Start

If you’re not clear about what is assisted living, one of your first steps may be to get a clearer understanding of the care your loved one needs. Assisted living is typically ideal for someone who is still self-sufficient and enjoys their freedom but needs help with some activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, or taking medications properly. Dining options, housekeeping, maintenance, and social and enrichment programming are also generally provided.

Keep in mind, it’s a good idea to begin your search for an assisted living facility sooner rather than later, even if you’re still trying to decide whether it’s time to make a change. Waiting until there’s an urgent need adds stress for you and your loved one. What’s more, you may find that you need to join a waitlist for the assisted living facility you ultimately choose. A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly one-third of senior housing communities have waitlists, which may mean you need to wait before your loved one can move into your preferred assisted living facility.

How to Create a Short List

When you begin looking for an assisted living facility, you’ll probably have some criteria to help you narrow the options. Location is usually near the top of the list. Learn what you can online, and ask for referrals from friends, family, and your loved one’s care providers.

You may be able to shorten your list with some phone calls before scheduling tours. On the phone, you’ll likely ask questions about availability and waitlists, assisted living cost, care specific to your loved one’s condition, and accreditation. You may also be able to get a feel for whether your loved one will feel at home by asking about how residents spent their days and what types of wellness and enrichment programs are offered.

When You Visit

Some of the information you collect when you tour a community will be the same as your initial phone conversation but should go into greater depth. You’ll be able to elaborate on the details and ensure the information you receive is communicated consistently.

Also remember what you see is as important as what you hear. Be attuned to the ambiance of the community and whether it feels like a warm, welcoming environment. Do team members engage with residents with care? Are they personable and professional? Do the common areas appear to be clean, tidy, and in good repair?

Here are some questions to ask:

  • How do you create resident care plans, and how often are they updated?
  • What floor plan options are available?
  • Can my loved one personalize their living space?
  • How do you introduce new residents to the community?
  • How should families communicate with the care team?
  • What would a typical day look like for my loved one?
  • What programs do you offer for residents to socialize and engage with the community?
  • What services are included (and not included) in the monthly fee?
  • Do you have scheduled hours for visitors?
  • How do you protect residents’ safety and security?

Where Care and Comfort Make a Home

At Springpoint Living at Manalapan, we know there’s more to choosing an assisted living community for your loved one than checking the boxes on a list of questions. That’s why we encourage you and your family members to visit, take a private tour, and ask all the questions you need to in order to feel great about entrusting us with your loved one’s care. When you schedule a visit, you’ll learn about the vibrant lifestyle; engaging programming; and quality, personalized care we provide in our newest Springpoint community.

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