National Assisted Living Week: The Right Questions to Ask When Searching for Assisted Living

For families facing the daunting task of finding an assisted living community for a loved one, there are seemingly countless considerations to make: quality of life, cost and caregiver competence, to name just a few.

If you’re searching assisted living communities for a loved one, here are the essential questions you should ask that will reveal the true quality of any community.

Facility Questions

What are the true costs? What is and is not included in the monthly rate?

Cost is always top of mind when considering a move to assisted living. However, some assisted living communities will have hidden costs or extra charges you’re not made fully aware of until after the paperwork is signed or after your loved one has moved in.

As a basic rule, most of your daily living expenses should be included in the monthly fee, including:

  • Utilities
  • Linen service
  • Monthly dining allowance
  • Scheduled transportation services
  • 24-hour security

Be sure you’re aware of the types of additional fees and factor them into your budget to ensure you can still afford it.

Is the facility for-profit or not-for-profit?

While for-profit communities are driven by the bottom line and will frequently try to cut variable costs to drive profit, not-for-profit housing providers are mission-driven. Their objective is to provide the highest quality and most compassionate care and services to those they serve. Not-for-profit organizations manage their financial resources in accordance with their missions.

Are outdoor spaces readily available?

Outdoor spaces are shown to have a soothing effect on the entire spectrum of humanity.

Be sure the assisted living community allows access to outdoor spaces as access to nature is an important aspect of our psyche, even if it’s a simple grassy courtyard or a room with a view.

Programming Questions

How does the facility help residents maintain freedom and independence?

This should be one of the community’s primary goals. As an example: Inquire about the dining service options. Are residents required to dine for so many meals per month or is the program flexible enough to allow you to dine as needed? Are dining hours limited?

What types of programs and opportunities for socialization does the community provide?

Make sure there is regular engagement between the administration and residents. Communities with resident-driven programming typically have a committee in place that develops new and existing programs and events as opposed to a staff member making those decisions alone.

Staffing Questions

What specialized training is provided to caregivers?

Caregivers at assisted living communities should be highly qualified to deal with a variety of situations, including interacting residents with dementia. Ongoing education is a must, but the state requires only eight hours for state tested nursing assistants (STNA) each year.

Judson requires all of its professionals working in assisted living to be STNAs. Each STNA is required to have at least 12 hours of continuing education.

How does the staff care for residents with dementia?

Any assisted living community worth its salt will have specialized services for those living with dementia, with features including:

  • Sensory-based programming
  • Individualized “person-centered care” specific to each resident’s specific needs
  • A secure environment while allowing healthy wandering
  • 24-hour on-site caregivers
  • The ability to accommodate residents in all stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia

Is there a 24-hour nurse on site?

Many assisted living neighborhoods have a nurse on call, rather than on site, with nursing assistants in the building.

Judson’s assisted living facilities have a nurse on site 24 hours a day to handle any unforeseen circumstances or should an emergency arise.

To learn more about Assisted Living at Judson, click here!


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