Questions to Ask a Senior Living Community During a Virtual Visit

November 4, 2020

Because the future is hard to predict, it’s a good idea to formulate a plan you can count on. That’s why many seniors are making the move to a senior living community like McLean. If you’re considering your options, there are certain questions you should ask staff members and residents, whether you’re touring in person or virtually. To ensure you find a choice that best fits your lifestyle, this blog post will offer suggestions on how to get started and suggest several questions to ask senior living communities.

As you do your research, remember that picking a community is similar to when you picked a college, chose your career path or decided where to live. It’s important to do your homework, be diligent and ask the questions that will give you an idea of what you can expect on day one and if, sometime in the future, you or your spouse needs medical care.

To get you started, here are a few tips:

  • Reach out to people you can trust to be unbiased: friends, family or a physician. Ask for their candid advice and recommendations on senior living communities.
  • You can also check online reviews, but because personal reviews can be very subjective, it’s important to weigh them with other information you’ve already collected.
  • As you narrow down your list, schedule visits to tour the communities at the top of your list. As you’re doing this, consider other details, such as how they answer the phone, the time it takes them to return messages and their helpfulness.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Touring in person will give you a better perspective, but if you do this virtually, note the following and consider these questions to ask yourself as you tour senior living communities. For a another set of eyes and ears, you may want to have a family member tour communities with you:

  • What are your first impressions of the place?
  • How does the exterior and interior of the building look? (Note: If your virtual tour doesn’t start on the outside of the building, you may have to ask your guide to show it to you.)
  • Are the community rooms light or dark? Is there natural sunlight or enough lighting?
  • Is the community clean and well maintained?
  • Does the staff smile and greet residents by name?
  • Do the residents seem happy?
  • How do the residents and staff interact with each other?
  • Could you imagine yourself living here?
  • Do you feel you’d fit in?

Questions to Ask Senior Living Communities

If you’re satisfied with what you see and your overall impressions of the communities your visit, here are some questions you’ll want to ask senior living communities before making any decision:

  • Is the community non-profit or for profit?
  • Is there an entrance fee? If so, how much is it?
  • What’s the monthly fee?
  • What’s covered by the monthly fee?
  • What services and amenities are offered?
  • Are there à la carte fees for additional services that aren’t part of the monthly fee that I need to budget for?
  • Is there an on-site health center? (Do they have a high reputation for care? Are they known for high quality care?)
  • If so, what higher levels of care are available at the health center?
  • Will the fees I pay change if I move from one area of the community to another e.g. from independent living to memory care)?
  • Are the residents involved in how the community is run? (Is there a resident-led dining committee, social committee, activities committee, etc.)
  • What type of residential floor plans do you have available?
  • Can I see a calendar of resident activities?
  • How many dining options/venues are there?
  • Does the kitchen accommodate special dietary or religious needs?
  • What security safeguards are in place?
  • How many people live in the community?
  • What is the staff-to-resident-ratio? How many of those people provide services and care directly for residents?
  • What’s the community’s reputation and the longevity of staff?
  • Is transportation provided to nearby stores and doctors’ offices?
  • Are pets allowed?

In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak, here are some additional questions to ask senior living communities:

  • How do you promote a sense of community?
  • What kinds of social interactions do you have that still protect those who live and work on campus?
  • Are residents able to safely engage in wellness and fitness programs and other activities?
  • How do you promote residents’ emotional wellness?
  • How does your community handle visits?

Researching Your Senior Living Choices

Asking a senior living community questions is the best way to make sure you select one that can help with everything from an engaging, independent lifestyle to on-site senior care, including long-term care options. Doing so will provide you and your family with a true sense of security. If you want to know more about how our community can help you enjoy life more, contact us here.

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