Beyond the Basics: 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Senior Living Community

What was true when we were children is even more true today: asking questions is the best way to find out what you really need to know about anything. And it often means going deeper and asking about details—such as when you are choosing a senior living community.

Knowing the details can make the difference between just being okay in your lifestyle, versus knowing you’ve made the absolute best choice for you or for a loved one. So, in addition to the obvious questions, go beyond the basics and get all the pertinent details.

Choosing a Senior Living Community: Why You Don’t Want to Be Shy

When you’re considering making a lifestyle change for yourself, or for a loved one, you don’t want to leave any stone unturned. That means asking questions—lots of questions whether you’re talking with the community on the phone, or on an in-person tour.

It can be overwhelming at first to even think about all the things you’d like to know, so consider making a few lists. Don’t get caught up in which question goes on which list, just give yourself a chance to let your ideas flow. You can always group them later to be sure you don’t leave any out.

The basics: What you want to know about choosing a senior living community

First, think about your “absolute must know” list. Right off the bat, what comes to mind? Some possibilities could be:

  • Where is the community located?
  • What levels of care does the community offer?
  • What types of accommodations are offered by the community?
  • Is there an entrance fee, or is this a rental community?
  • Who owns and manages the community?
  • How long has the leadership team been in place?

These are just examples of the “big” questions that might first jump to mind when choosing a senior living community. You will probably quickly have more; jot them down. Looking at websites and doing some online searches will help you come up with other questions you want to ask. So will talking with friends and neighbors, and especially acquaintances who have gone through this process previously.

As you continue to consider what you want to know, here’s what a secondary list might consist of:

  • Is the community pet-friendly?
  • Is there a choice of floor plans and what is included in each?
  • What are the dining venues like, is restaurant-style dining available, do they accommodate dietary restrictions?
  • How diverse is the activities calendar, are classes and events well attended?
  • What kind of lifelong learning opportunities are available?
  • What are the exercise and fitness options?
  • Are there outdoor spaces that are easily accessible?
  • What is the staff-to-resident ratio?

You can see that with each question you come up with, you’ll probably think of three more. That’s good. Right now, you just want to get your brain going so don’t restrict any ideas…let them flow.

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Going deeper: 10 questions you need to ask when choosing a senior living community

After your initial brainstorming, give yourself time to consider questions such as the following list that are more related to health, wellness, safety and cost considerations.

  1. What is the specific cost, and does that change over time or based on the services we use?
  2. What is the grievance process?
  3. Are there any limitations on visitors?
  4. Can my loved one, if able to, go on independent outings?
  5. Do you provide mental health care?
  6. What medical assistance is available? Does it include rehabilitative care?
  7. Are medical providers always available?
  8. What specific training do staff members have?
  9. What is your discharge policy?
  10. What safety precautions do you take?

Remember, a quality senior living community will be proud of the excellent care and lifestyle they provide, and they should welcome your questions and answer them without pause. If for any reason a community seems reluctant to answer a question, it’s a red flag. Trust your instincts, but

also ask for the facts. When choosing a senior living community, you are entitled to all the information.

We’d like to tell you about our story—and how we are inspired to help 10,000 seniors live life on purpose by 2025. Download our free “Complete Guide to Choosing Between Senior Living Options.” Or contact us today.

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