If you or a senior loved one can no longer live safely in a current situation, it may be time for assisted living, says Ann Zak, Executive Director of Chatham Place at Mary Wade, New Haven County’s newest and preferred senior living community.
“While this is a big decision that will require research, you and your loved one are making the best possible choice to ensure a high quality of life,” she says. “Assisted living is the perfect solution for seniors who want to live as independently as possible but need extra assistance with activities of daily living. In order to find the right senior housing solution for you, you’ll want to make sure you’re asking the right questions so it’s easier to compare communities and determine your individual, specific needs.”
No two assisted living facilities are alike, which it’s why it’s important to do your research and come up with a list of questions to ask when touring an assisted living community.
“By the time you’re ready to tour a community, you probably know a little bit or even a lot about the facility itself,” Ann says. “However, there’s no substitute for an in-person tour. Not only will you be able to extensively ask questions and get face-to-face information, you’ll also be able to get a feel for the living options and the atmosphere of the community.”
“You want to find a community that you’ll love and be comfortable in because this will be home for you for many years to come,” says Ann. “As you put together a list of questions, think back to when you bought your most recent home. More than likely, you had a list of wants and needs that helped you narrow down your search. You also had dealbreakers that would knock a home off your list. The more you know what you want and the more information you have, the better equipped you will be to choose the right assisted living community for your needs and your comfort.”
8 Questions To Ask When Touring an Assisted Living Community
Obviously, you can ask as many or as few questions as you like – if you do a quick online search, you’ll find lists ranging from 5 to 50 questions (and more). Your exact list of questions will depend on your situation, of course, but here are eight questions that are a great place for you to start. The answers to these questions will go a long way towards helping you come up with your final choices – or even your ultimate choice.
- What is your current availability?
This is one of those questions that is so obvious that you may not even think to ask about it. But it’s a necessary question to ask because many senior living communities are at full capacity and have a wait list. If the community does have a wait list, you’ll want to ask how long it is and determine if the timeframe will work with your needs. If it doesn’t have a wait list, that may affect your decision to move sooner rather than later.
- What floor plans are currently available?
Even if a community has availability, they may not have availability in the floor plan that’s right for your needs. If you need a one-bedroom layout, but all they have are studios, will that work for you or would you rather wait until the right option opens up? Consider what’s necessary for you and your comfort, and weigh your options, keeping in mind the services and amenities the community provides outside of your personal living space.
- What’s included in the monthly fee?
Retirement communities charge a monthly fee for residency, but the benefits and services they provide can vary greatly. Ask the community what’s included with the monthly fee – is their community all-inclusive, or more of a pay-as-you-go option? Do prices increase if you or your loved one require additional care assistance? Understanding what you get and what the true cost of living there is can help you better compare your options.
- What does a typical monthly calendar of events look like?
A community is more than just a place to live … it’s a place to be social and build friendships. You want to make sure that whatever community you choose has a healthy variety of different clubs, activities, gatherings and classes. If you don’t see anything that necessarily piques your interest, ask what sort of options are available for residents to form their own clubs, or if the staff will help find opportunities that might be more appealing to you.
- What is the transportation situation?
Driving isn’t always safe or comfortable as we get older. Many senior housing communities will offer transportation services to their residents, whether for free or a discounted rate. However, if you or your loved one still drives, you may want to bring a personal car with you. Ask about parking options, transportation options and additional services like bus schedules and the like. You’ll want to make sure you can get around, even if it’s just for doctor’s appointments.
- What health services are provided on site?
Is there a wellness center that is staffed by nurses or visiting clinicians? What sort of medication management is available? Is there an easy way for residents to get the medical care they need beyond the assistance with the tasks of daily life? It’s common for assisted living communities to have visiting specialists that make “house calls” so that residents can get the care they need in the comfort of their own homes.
- What’s the food like?
Meals are very important – not just for the nutritional aspect, but for the social and community value as well. Find out how the meals are structured. Is it a certain number of meals per day? Are there flexible hours? What sort of takeaway options are there? How often does the menu change? Does the chef take special requests, and how are special preferences and dietary needs met? You probably also want to have a meal at the community so you can taste their food for yourself.
- What sort of care planning is provided?
It’s always important to be thinking about the future and what medical and health needs you may require down the road. What sort of services are available if you need additional care – say, skilled nursing or memory care? Is there continuing care available or would you or your loved one need to move to a different place? What partnerships are in place with area healthcare providers, and what happens if there’s a medical emergency? It’s important to think about the future and what further care services you may need down the road. If you end up requiring more and more assistance to live safely, can your care flex to meet your needs? What partnerships does the community have with area healthcare providers?
These questions are a good start for determining the right assisted living fit for you or a loved one. You may wish to consider typing out all your questions and bringing them with you when you tour different communities. With a little leg work, research and some self-reflection, you’ll soon find the right assisted living community for you.
Chatham Place at Mary Wade – Now Pre-Leasing!
Chatham Place at Mary Wade provides full-spectrum senior care with a holistic approach. Providing assisted living and memory care options, our devoted team of caregivers and specialists are committed to providing one-on-one, personalized care in a warm and supportive environment while also receiving the best care in the country. Our philosophy of personal service and gentle care remains steadfast and resolute, just as it was at our founding in 1886.
Opening in late summer 2021, Chatham Place will offer exceptional senior living options in a warm and inviting atmosphere. This new, state-of-the-art community will have 84 apartments designed to meet today’s safety, security and comfort standards. As part of the Mary Wade campus, we will continue the legacy of exceptional service, truly resident-centered care and access to world-class healthcare services.
For more information, please call (203) 423-3293.