10 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Senior Living Community

by Paul Konrardy

If you or a family member are considering moving to a senior living facility or community, there’s a lot to consider.

These 10 questions will help you identify what you need, what you want and whether the location is the right one for you.

  1. What type of living arrangement do you need?
    There are several types of senior living arrangements, from independent living to assisted living to a skilled nursing care facility. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) generally offer all three at the same location. If you’re making a move, consider not only your current level of need but also what you may require down the road. Also, consider additional services you may want, such as housekeeping or laundry, and ask if they are available.
  2. Where do you want to live?
    Do you want to stay in your current community or move closer to other family members? Do you want to change climates – for instance, move to an area where it’s warm year-round?
  3. Can you pay for your living arrangements yourself or will you need financial assistance?
    Depending on your situation, you may be able to get financial coverage from the Veteran’s Administration, from Medicare or from Medicaid. If your insurance is paying for some or all of your care, check if the location is on the approved provider list.
  4. How important is privacy to you?
    For assisted living and skilled nursing care situations, do you want your own room or are you willing to share a room with another resident?
  5. How important are the amenities to you?
    Some facilities have a full range of amenities, from on-site beauty shops, exercise classes, social and recreational activities (both on- and off-site) and religious services. Others may have a limited number of features.
  6. How rigid are the schedules?
    Can your individual needs and preferences be accommodated, or do you have adhere to the facility’s schedule?
  7. Can family members and friends visit you any time or are there scheduled visiting hours or other visitor restrictions?
    This is something to think about especially if you share a room with another resident, since their guests may impede your privacy.
  8. Does the location offer off-site transport or will you have to make your own arrangements?
    If you are no longer driving, you will need to know your options for leaving the facility for attending religious services, shopping, doctor appointments or visiting with friends or family members. If you have a car, ask about the type of parking services available: locked garage, open lot, carport.
  9. Are you comfortable with the facility rules regarding pets, visitors, and smoking?
    Find out what type of rules are in place, and whether residents have a say in making or amending those rules.
  10. Do you have specific physical, cultural or ethnic needs that need to be accommodated?
    Do you want a place where the providers are familiar with your culture or ethnicity, or that has other residents with a background similar to yours? If you are hearing or visually impaired, is there someone available to assist you? Do you need interpreter services?

WHN TIP – Know Your Exit Options: Even after you do your homework, you may still find that the place you chose doesn’t fit your lifestyle or preferences. Find out during your search process what is involved in terminating the arrangement.

Photo Credit: Matthew Bennett

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