Moving a parent or loved one into an assisted living facility is a significant and involved process. From having the initial discussion with a parent to choosing an assisted living community, each step can be arduous.
When researching assisted living options, the research first step is to identify potential assisted living facilities in the right geographic area that might work. From there, it is helpful to narrow down options by reviewing available information on each facility’s website, getting referrals from friends, and looking at reviews.
Related: What is Assisted Living?
With a shortlist in hand, the next step, and most important task, is to setup interviews and site tours with the remaining assisted living companies. Nothing replaces first hand experience when trying to make the right choice for your parent’s assisted living facility.
We’ve put together the following list of assisted living interview questions you can ask in the interview process. Some of the answers will help you match facilities to your senior’s requirements and preferences while others will help you understand how your loved one will be cared for.
Finally, it is important to be as observant as possible to help find the right community for your parent or loved one. While the interviewer can have the right answer for every question, a good eye can help you understand the way your senior will be cared for.
We’ve broken down the following questions into more digestible sections to help you through this process.
The following questions will help guide your observations to notice how well people are treated and taken care of in this facility.
- Do staff members feel like they are providing empathetic care (vs just doing their job)?
- Do staff members appear to treat residents with respect and dignity?
- Do staff members appear to take time with and have patience for residents?
- Do staff engage with residents while helping them (example: wheeling them to dinner)?
- Do staff members call residents by their name?
- Are residents properly dressed and groomed?
- Do staff and caregivers appear professional?
- Is the facility clean and tidy?
- Are residents out and socializing or in their rooms?
- Does this feel like a place where you’d like to visit your parent?
- Does this feel like a place where you’d be ok living yourself?
Related: How to Pay For Assisted Living
These questions should help you understand if this facility will provide the appropriate level of care for your loved one’s current and future needs.
- Do you create and maintain a care plan for each resident? What does it look like?
- Are residents (or their families) included in this process?
- What does medication administration look like?
- Are residents allowed to self manage their medications?
- Are staff available 24/7 to help residents with activities of daily living?
- Do you offer memory care?
- Do you offer graduating levels of care as my parents continue to age and need more help?
- Do you offer palliative, hospice, or end of life care?
- Do you offer other healthcare and services?
- Which hospital are residents taken to if there is an emergency?
- Do you have experience with _____________(your loved one’s conditions)?
Who are the employees providing the care to your loved one and what are their qualifications and credentials?
- What is the ratio of residents for each staff member?
- Is the night shift staffed differently than the day shifts?
- What training does your staff receive?
- Are staff members trained to help residents with memory loss?
- Do you have registered nurses on staff 24/7 (or LVN or CNA)?
- Do you have other licensed specialists on staff?
- Do you have an in-house physician?
- What does your typical staff turnover rate look like?
These specific questions will help shine light on the residences and living quarters for your loved one.
- What types of apartments are available?
- Are residents able to decorate their rooms?
- What furniture do you provide in resident rooms?
- Does each room have their own bathroom?
- What do you do to prepare a room when there is an opening?
- Is TV / internet / phone provided with each room?
- Are there in-unit kitchenettes / Are residents allowed to cook in their own rooms?
- Are residents allowed to bring pets?
- Is house cleaning provided for resident’s rooms?
Social Events & Activities
The social aspect and planned activities play a significant role in the quality of life and your loved one’s overall well being.
- Do you offer regular activities, social events, or organized outings?
- If so what is the process for participating?
- Do you provide transportation to doctors appointments?
- Do you provide offsite outings or field trips?
- What are visitation rules?
- What is the process for checking my parent out for an afternoon or weekend?
- Do you have an activity calendar?
For many of the residents, this is the most important part. That said, the attention and effort put into the dining experience can be a good reflection of the overall level of care. It is no small feat to put significant effort into a healthy and delicious menu that rotates frequently so residents don’t get bored and reflects a caring attitude towards residents.
- How often does the menu change?
- What does dining look like? What meal options are there?
- How many meals a day are provided?
- Are meals at set times?
- Can family members or friends dine with residents?
- What are some of the most popular meals?
- Are you able to adjust to dietary restrictions or preferences?
Safety & Facilities
The systems and processes in place are often not highlighted or always self evident, but are vital in keeping residents safe.
- What systems or processes are in place for resident emergencies (falls, medical issues, etc)?
- Do residents wear emergency response buttons?
- What are staff trained to do when there is a medical emergency?
- What are your facility safety and security measures?
- What would the response be if my parent managed to leave the facility?
- Do you have outdoor or communal spaces?
- Is smoking allowed?
- Are there any amenities / site features for residents?
Availability & Fees
- Do you have any rooms available now?
- Are they private or shared?
- What are the monthly fees and what is included?
- Are there fees for help with activities of daily living?
- Are there fees for transportation to offsite appointments?
- What are the fees for additional services?
- What fees are required to move in?
- Do you have a waitlist? What are the waitlist policies?
Related: How Much Does Assisted Living Cost
- Are there families of a few residents that I could contact about their experience here?