With so many choices available, how do you know which Assisted Community is right for you?
Joining an Assisted Living community is a big decision with far-reaching financial and emotional implications, so naturally it isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Whether you’re considering The Village in White River Junction or any other Assisted Living community we’d like to help you better understand the care offered and the standard of living you can expect for yourself or a loved one.
Many visitors to The Village are considering Assisted Living for the first time. So how do you know which community to choose? Here is a list of questions to make sure you ask at any Assisted Living community and some things to look out for which should inform your decision. This list is by no means exhaustive, and every senior will have their own requirements and preferences so use these as a starting point and add to the list:
The staff at any community are like family. These are the people you or your loved one will rely on and will interact with every day, who will hold the responsibility for your loved one’s safety and well-being. For us, these questions are top of the list:
- How many staff care for each resident?
- What type of training do your care staff receive?
- Are staff available at all times?
- Are there staff on site with medical training?
- In the event of a medical emergency, what are the procedures?
Something we often advise prospective community members is to ‘trust your gut’. As well as asking specific questions of staff you meet, make sure you’re asking yourselves questions too: Do I like the staff I’ve met? Do they seem responsible and caring? Are they likely to go above and beyond to help and support members of the community? Trusting and liking the staff you meet is every bit as important as ensuring they’re qualified and well-trained.
One of the most common anxieties about moving into an Assisted Living community is the standard of living accommodations. Leaving a home is never easy, so make sure you’ve seen and learnt as much as possible about the living conditions of any prospective community. Here are some considerations to get you started:
- Can residents personalize and decorate their apartment?
- Is every apartment identical or are there a variety of shapes, sizes, views and locations to select from?
- Are the apartments quiet? How efficient is the soundproofing between rooms?
- Do all apartments have 24-hour emergency response systems?
- Are pets allowed and if so, what facilities are available for them?
- How frequently does house-keeping visit?
- How does the laundry service operate?
A lot of questions about the accommodations you’ll want to ask yourself while on a tour or viewing, rather than a member of staff – here are some important ones to ask:
- Are the apartments practically designed for the specific requirements of your loved one?
- Apart from sensibly-placed handrails and call buttons, are light-switches conveniently situated, walkways wide enough for wheelchair access, and furniture arranged in practical, logical positions?
- Are the apartments clean and well-kept?
- Are stairs, elevators and hallways clear of obstacles and well-lit with visible signage and well-marked exits?
This is a big one. At The Village we know how important food is at every stage of life and we feel strongly that every Assisted Living community should have healthy, nutritious and appetizing food offerings. Make sure you ask to try a meal at every community you visit and experience the standard of dining for yourself.
- How many meals are provided per day?
- Does the daily menu vary?
- Is all food freshly prepared on site?
- Are there set meal times?
- What happens if a resident is hungry outside these times?
- Can visitors dine with residents?
- Is there a selection of fresh fruit and well-prepared vegetables available at every meal?
- Are there facilities for residents to prepare food for themselves if they wish to?
As you view the dining facilities of a potential community, remember that you or your loved one will spend a good proportion of each day in that space. Is it clean and well-lit? Does it smell appetizing? Are tables well-spaced or cramped closely together? Does it feel cheerful and lively or flat and functional?
4. Activities & Shared Spaces
It’s important to think of every move into an Assisted Living community as an opportunity. Many of our residents at The Village find, for the first time in years, that they have time on their hands. Without the pressures of cleaning, laundering and cooking every day, there is more space for activities and events. Make sure that an Assisted Living community has adequate, high-quality activities to keep you or your loved engaged and motivated to use their time in fun and valuable ways.
- What type of activities are available and how often do they occur?
- How do residents find out about activities?
- Where do activities take place?
- Do all activities take place on-site? If not, how do residents travel and how are they accompanied?
- Are residents encouraged to engage with the surrounding community and if so, how?
At The Village, we pride ourselves on our industry-leading cultural and arts program, and the state-of-the-art facilities available to our residents. Ensure that any equipment and furnishings you see on a tour, whether in a gym, an arts and crafts room or simply a recreational space are clean, well-looked after and not overused. It’s always a good idea to try and observe an activity or two when touring an Assisted Living community. When booking a tour, don’t forget to ask in advance which activities you can experience.
5. Medication & Healthcare
Many residents have complex and detailed routines for medication and care. It is paramount for any Assisted Living facility to recognize and understand the individual needs of each resident and to have systems in place to manage and cater for these needs in a reliable way. Make sure you investigate this important area fully:
- Is there a medication management policy in place for the community?
- Is there a written medical plan for each resident and where is this information kept?
- If a resident would like to see a doctor or other specialist, what is the procedure?
- If your loved one has a specific condition, make sure that the staff has experience with it or similar conditions.
- Can a resident keep medication in their apartment to self-administer, or must all medication be administered by staff?
We strongly advise either printing out this list (click here to download a printable PDF) and taking it with you on a tour of an Assisted Living facility or making your own list in advance. You will have many questions of your own, particularly in areas that this article doesn’t cover, for example the exact financial arrangements of the community, but there is nothing more frustrating than forgetting important questions to ask face-to-face. When you’re on a tour, having a list with you will let you focus on the community itself rather than worrying about getting all the information you need.
There are fantastic Assisted Living options out there for you and your loved ones – make sure you have all the information you need to make your choice.