10 Questions for an Assisted Living Facility

Earlier this year, I completed a course called the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), and now have that designation. This gives me additional information and skills when dealing with seniors in their real estate needs. Many seniors stay in their homes until the absolutely need to go to a facility, and if you're helping a loved one in this transition, you probably have many questions of your own. I would be happy to guide you through the process - which is often very different than working with millennials who like things to move quickly - especially when it comes to listing their home and getting it ready for sale.

If you're helping a loved one choose a facility, or you're a senior now who is considering making that transition, here are some tips. When interviewing potential assisted living facilities, it's a good idea to have a standard list of questions to ask each facility so you can make relevant comparisons.

  1. What levels of care does this facility offer? What abilities and degrees of self-sufficiency are required of residents? What happens when these abilities change?
  2. Do you conduct an initial assessment prior to admission? How often are assessments repeated? Are they written and available for the family's review?
  3. What is your staff-to-resident ratio during the day? At night?
  4. Is a nurse onsite around the clock? Does a physician regularly visit the facility? How are medical emergencies handled?
  5. Who administers medications? How is this information recorded? Can it be reviewed by family members at any time?
  6. What experience and training does your staff possess? How much ongoing training is required?
  7. What type of apartments and/or living units are available? Is there a waiting list? What is the estimated time before you can accept a new resident?
  8. What is the monthly cost? Do you have a written list of what's included and which services cost extra? What other fees might be assessed?
  9. What are your billing and payment policies? What is your discharge policy?
  10. How often is the facility assessed? By what organizations? Are the findings made available to families as a matter of course?

This can be a very emotional time with overwhelming decisions to make. If you're prepared, it will be easier for everyone involved! These questions really only deal with the nuts and bolts of the residence. Other considerations you or your loved one might ask are:


  • Is the facility attractive, in excellent repair and clean - inside and out?
  • Is the staff friendly? Were you welcomed when you arrived? Does the staff and executive director address residents by name? Are interactions between staff and management professional? Are members of the staff warm toward the residents? Do they greet you as you tour?
  • May you visit with residents any time you like?
  • Is the food attractive? Does it taste good? Are families permitted to review the menus?
  • Are the residents happy? Do they appear to have excellent care from staff? Do they interact and seem to enjoy each other's company?
  • Are you comfortable here? Do the staff and residents seem comfortable? Does it seem like a good fit?

Visit each facility you are considering a different times of the day - during activities and meal times, for example - and ask feedback from residents and their families on these and other considerations. Good luck, and please call or email me if you have any questions about this phase of your life!

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