Ten Questions to Ask About Assisted Living

questions about assisted livingTen questions to ask yourself about assisted living programs before you commit.

Once you've narrowed down your search to a few good assisted living programs, it's time to start thinking about the questions to ask about assisted living so that you can make an informed decision that you'll never regret. These ten questions will help you with that process. For more help, see our other article, "Tips for Choosing an Assisted Living Program."

The First Question to Ask About Assisted Living

1. Above all, the most important question to ask yourself is: Would I want to live here? Of course, you need to take into consideration your loved one's personal preferences, but if you go into it looking for a place that your loved one can call "home," you are on the right track.

More Questions to Ask About Assisted Living

2. Location, location, location. Ask yourself, is this assisted living facility near the places and people my loved one relies on? Is there a full-service hospital nearby? Is the facility located close to relatives, doctor offices, shopping and other services?

3. Licensing and violations history. A fundamental question to ask about assisted living facilities involves their regulatory history. What is the facility's abuse and violation history? Get updated information about disputes, misconduct reports, citations and inspections at Meidcare's website, Nursing Home Compare. You may also get information through your local long-term care ombudsman's office, reachable at www.LTCOmbudsman.org.

4. Terms and fees. This is a question you literally cannot afford to ignore. Settle on the answer to this question clearly before signing any contracts: How much will I pay and what does that cover? And mind the fine print. Assisted living programs have widely varying payment plans, options and scales.

5. Visiting hours. An important question to ask about assisted living facilities is, 'are visiting hours at these assisted living programs liberal enough to accommodate my evolving schedule?' Even if a facility's visiting hours work with your family's schedule now, there is no guarantee they will fit through the years. Look for a program with liberal visiting hours throughout the day, seven days a week.

6. Taste and see. How is the food? This is a question of utmost importance to your loved one. But it's also a question that should be front and center for you. As people age, their desire for food can often decline. Choosing only assisted living programs with tantalizing, easy to eat food can help with this issue over time.

7. Ammenities. If you are looking into assisted living programs and your loved one doesn't need a plethora of special services, it doesn't mean you shouldn't find a facility that offers them. How many special services does the facility offer? Whether you need them now or later, you'll want to know if they offer services on site, or if you can easily secure them privately. (This includes occupational, physical and speech therapy, as well as dental care, foot care, eye care and hospice.)

8. Staff. What level of assistance can I expect from my loved one's staff? This is an especially pertinent question to ask about assisted living, because as such, it isn't regulated to provide specific skilled-nursing services. Always opt for the facility that offers the greatest number of services. They may come in handy later on!

9. What dispute procedures are in place? While you do everything you can to find a clean, solid place for your loved one, you should also cover your bases by asking for written policies and looking for clearly posted contact information for the local long-term care ombudsman service.

10. Safety first. Can minimally mobile patients find safety in an emergency? Look for and ask about handicap accessibility, grab bars, available call buttons, emergency exits, skid-resistant floors and as always, a well-trained staff.

Find Assisted Living Programs

Start your own search for assisted living by speaking with one of our trained elder care advisors today. Just call the toll-free number at the top of this page and an experienced advisor will help you narrow down your search. We are here to help you find that perfect fit assisted living program for your loved one. Our services are always free of charge, and our advisors are standing by to assist you.