Aug 18, 2023

Questions to ask when looking for assisted living facilities

Manny Cominsky

Finding the right assisted living facility for yourself or a loved one can feel like a challenging and overwhelming task. With so many options available, it's essential to ask the right questions to ensure that the facility meets your specific needs and provides the level of care and support required. To help guide your search, make sure to ask these important questions whenever you are looking for an assisted living facility for yourself or a senior loved one.

How Does Your Community Welcome a New Resident?

Moving to a new assisted living facility can be a significant life transition, and it's crucial to ensure that the community has a welcoming and supportive environment for new residents. By asking this question, you can gain insights into the facility's orientation process, the level of personal attention given to new residents, and the support systems in place to help them adjust to their new home. Look for a facility that takes the time to get to know new residents, provides questionnaires to understand their needs, and offers ongoing support during the initial weeks of their stay.

What Kind of Training Does Your Team Undergo?

The quality of care provided by the staff at an assisted living facility is of utmost importance. By asking about the training that the team undergoes, you can gauge the level of expertise and professionalism within the facility. Look for a facility that prioritizes ongoing education and training for its staff, has a clear philosophy of care, and conducts regular evaluations to ensure the highest standards of care are maintained. Additionally, inquire about the number of staff members in each department to ensure an appropriate staff-to-resident ratio.

What is the Cost Structure and Payment Options?

Understanding the cost structure of the assisted living facility is essential to ensure that it aligns with your budget and financial situation. Inquire about the monthly fees and what services are included in the cost. Ask about any additional charges for specific services or amenities. Additionally, discuss the payment options available and whether the facility accepts insurance or government assistance programs such as Medicaid.

How are Care Plans Developed and Reviewed?

Care plans are essential in ensuring that the individual's specific needs are met. Inquire about how care plans are developed, including the involvement of the resident and their family members. Ask how often care plans are reviewed and updated to accommodate any changes in the individual's needs. It's important to ensure that the facility has a personalized approach to care and that the care plans are regularly evaluated and adjusted as necessary.

How Many Residents Do You Have?

The number of residents in an assisted living facility can give you an idea of the facility's capacity and the level of individualized attention each resident may receive. While a larger facility may offer more amenities and social opportunities, it's essential to ensure that the staff-to-resident ratio is adequate to meet the needs of all residents. Look for a facility that strikes a balance between a vibrant community and personalized care.

Do You Have Staff on-Site 24/7?

Emergencies and care needs can arise at any time, so it's crucial to know whether the facility has staff available around the clock. By asking this question, you can determine the level of supervision and assistance provided during nighttime hours. Inquire about the types of staff available, such as certified nursing practitioners, and the procedures in place for accessing care during non-business hours. Knowing that there is always someone available to provide assistance can offer peace of mind to both residents and their families.

What Kind of Meal Services Do You Offer?

Nutrition is an essential aspect of overall well-being, and it's important to ensure that the facility offers a variety of dining options to meet individual preferences and dietary needs. By asking about meal services, you can learn about the menu options, meal planning processes, and the overall dining experience. Look for a facility that provides nutritious and delicious meals, offers flexibility in accommodating special dietary or religious needs, and offers a variety of dining styles such as buffet, restaurant-style, or family-style dining.

What Type of Activities Are Available?

Engaging in meaningful activities can greatly enhance the quality of life for residents in assisted living facilities. By asking about the types of activities offered, you can assess the facility's commitment to promoting social engagement and overall well-being. Look for a facility that offers a diverse range of activities catering to various interests and abilities. Inquire about resident input in activity planning and whether the facility regularly seeks feedback to ensure that the activities meet residents' interests and preferences.

What Type of Voice Do Your Residents Have?

Residents should have a say in matters that directly affect their lives within the facility. By asking about the residents' voice, you can gauge the level of resident involvement in decision-making processes, activity planning, and care plans. Look for a facility that values resident input and actively seeks their opinions through resident councils, town hall meetings, or other forms of engagement. A facility that prioritizes resident involvement creates a sense of belonging and empowerment among its residents.

What is the Process for Handling Emergencies?

Emergencies can happen at any time, so it's important to understand how the facility handles such situations. Inquire about the protocols and procedures in place for handling emergencies, including the decision-making process for calling 911 or notifying family members. Ask about the availability of staff members trained in first aid and CPR, as well as any emergency response systems or equipment in the facility.

What Role Does Family Play?

Family involvement and support are crucial in ensuring the well-being of residents in assisted living facilities. By asking about the role of family, you can determine whether the facility encourages family visits, volunteer opportunities, and participation in social activities. Inquire about the facility's policies on family involvement and whether families have a say in decision-making processes regarding their loved ones. Look for a facility that recognizes and values the importance of family in the lives of residents.

How is the Facility Licensed and Accredited?

It is crucial to inquire about the licensing and accreditation of the assisted living facility. A reputable facility should be licensed by the state and accredited by recognized organizations such as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) or the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA). These certifications ensure that the facility meets certain standards of care and safety.

How Do You Track Resident Happiness?

Monitoring resident satisfaction is essential for ensuring that the facility is meeting the needs and expectations of its residents. By asking about how resident happiness is tracked, you can gain insights into the facility's commitment to continuous improvement and resident-centered care. Look for a facility that conducts regular surveys or discussions to gather feedback from residents. Additionally, inquire about the facility's response to resident feedback and how they address any concerns or suggestions raised.

How Do You Foster a Sense of Community?

Creating a sense of community is vital in maintaining a positive and supportive environment within an assisted living facility. By asking about how the facility fosters a sense of community, you can assess the facility's efforts in promoting social interaction and meaningful connections among residents. Look for a facility that offers both formal and informal opportunities for residents to engage with one another. Inquire about the types of community-building activities, resident-led initiatives, and the overall atmosphere within the facility.

Asking these questions will provide valuable insights into the culture, services, and overall quality of care offered by an assisted living facility. Remember to take notes during your visits and consult with family members or trusted advisors to make an informed decision. Choosing the right assisted living facility is a significant decision, and by asking the right questions, you can ensure that you or your loved one finds a home that meets all of your needs and provides a safe and supportive environment.

To learn more about how Sunbound can help make senior care more affordable for you or your loved one, send us an email at or request more information on Sunbound. Sunbound is the best way to pay for senior living and senior care and is on a mission to make senior living affordable for everyone.

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