The Senior Living Search: Key Questions for Making an Informed Choice

Dec 26, 2023

Deciding to start your senior living search is an important first step, and making a plan is a logical second step. So now what?

You may find it helpful to compile a list of questions to ask prospective senior living communities you’re considering for yourself or your loved one. Below are some examples of questions to get you started.

3 questions to ask in your senior living search

1. What kind of care options do you offer?

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure this senior living community has the level of care you or your loved one needs. Here are some examples of different levels of care:

  • Independent living is best for those who can live on their own unsupervised in their own private home or apartment.
  • Assisted living is a good fit for those who can live on their own most of the time, but may need help with some everyday tasks such as grooming, bathing, getting dressed, etc.
  • Skilled nursing is full-time residential care provided by medical professionals and staff specialized in caring for elders in need of 24/7 medical care.
  • Memory care is typically round-the-clock residential care for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

In addition, some senior living communities can offer the levels of care mentioned above in different settings. For example, some skilled nursing care can be offered within a senior living resident’s apartment, or a skilled nursing facility may be on the campus of a larger senior living community.

2. What does a typical day look like for a resident?

The answer to this question will depend on the level of care you or your loved one will select, of course, but here are some categories of everyday life in this senior living community you may want to ask more about.

  • Schedule – Does every day look the same for most residents or is there variety to the day’s schedule? For memory care or skilled nursing, is there a consistent routine for each resident?
  • Dining options – Are there multiple meal options available each day? What times are meals served? How many daily meals are included with the level of care you’re interested in?
  • Activities – How do residents spend their free time? Are there amenities like a well-stocked library and a wellness center? What kind of events are on the resident engagement schedule?

Of course, the best way to see what a resident’s day is like is to actually talk to one (or more). When you make an in-person visit to a senior living community, be sure to ask if you can speak to a resident while you’re there. This can be a golden opportunity to ask some of the questions above.

3. What details can you tell me about the residence and/or care my loved one or I will receive?

You’ll want to know what to expect when it comes to the care you’ll receive, and if applicable, the new residence you’ll be living in. Here are some examples of questions to ask.

  • What is the staff-to-resident ratio? – This particularly applies to those in assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing. You’ll want to know this to ensure there are plenty of staff available to care for and assist you or your loved one when you need it.
  • What will my residence look like? – Ask for photos and videos of a model unit similar to the residence you’re interested in. If you’re planning an in-person visit, let the senior living community know what layout or floor plan you’re interested in so they can personalize your visit.
  • What is the setup for memory care? – Specifically for memory care, you’ll want to know what the general layout of the memory care community and the individual rooms are like. What safety and security features are in place that are specifically designed for memory care? Learn more about choosing a memory care community in our free guide, “How to Evaluate the Quality of Residential Care for Persons with Dementia.

Of course, there are many other questions you can ask about these areas on your senior living search. Think about the details that are especially important for your specific situation and make a list of your own.

About Abe’s Garden Community

Located in the Belle Meade suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, Abe’s Garden Community is a non-profit senior living community and care provider. In addition to independent living and assisted living, Abe’s Garden Community is an I’m Still Here Center of Excellence for memory support, which means memory care residents receive care with a research-based approach and purposeful engagement.

See it for yourself. Contact us today to learn more about Abe’s Garden Community and to schedule your tour.

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