15 Questions to Ask When Touring an Independent Living Facility

Transitioning your loved one from their home to an independent living facility is an emotional decision, and allowing a facility to take over their care can be nerve wracking. How do you know an independent living facility is the right fit for your loved one? When you tour a facility and talk to the staff, a million questions will be developing in your mind. Eventually you’ll want to ask them all, but here are 15 questions to prioritize when touring an independent living facility.

Ask About the Facility

What is the cost of rent and what is included?

The first question you should ask the independent living facility you are touring is the average price of rent and what is included in that price to ensure the facility is within your price range. Also remember to ask about utilities, such as water and electricity to calculate any additional expenses. You may want to ask about additional charges for housekeeping, security, parking, and activities to ensure your loved one will receive the best care. 

Are there different floor plans to choose from?

Your loved one may have different interests than their potential neighbors, so it’s important that they ultimately end up with a floor plan that works for them. Maybe they love to cook, and want a majority of their living space to be the kitchen. They may love plants, so a floor plan with a balcony may be better suited for them. While the marketed floor plan may work for your loved one, it’s important to ask if there are other options in case their situation changes. 

Are meals provided, and can they be taken back to their rooms?

Many independent living facilities will provide meals to their residents, but how many depends on the individual facility. Someone who enjoys cooking and can get around by themselves may not need all of their meals provided, but someone who needs more intense care may not want to spend their energy cooking. Also, remember to ask if the provided meals can be taken back to the residents room, or if they offer meal delivery in case a resident is sick or injured. 

Are there common areas for events or residents to socialize? 

Independent living facilities can feel lonely, and having opportunities to socialize with other residents is important. Ask about community spaces, such as parks, libraries, and gyms, as well as if the facility schedules events such as classes, bingo, or game nights. 

What amenities does the community offer?

Your loved one may want other amenities, such as laundry service, housekeeping, a salon, computer lab, medication management, or other services that not all independent living facilities provide. It’s important to ask ahead of time what that particular facility offers to ensure you and your loved one are choosing the best fit. 

Does the community have wireless internet and cable tv?

Along with amenities, WiFi and cable television are important in your loved ones new home. Although they will most likely have to supply their own television, ask if each unit has cable hookups. Also make sure that WiFi is readily available, and if not, do your research on companies and related costs to get your own. 

Ask About Staff, Security, and Safety

How many staff members per resident are there?

Since you’re handing over care to the independent living facility, you’ll want to know just how many staff members the facility has. A good rule of thumb is one staff member to 10 or less residents. While there will almost always be a wait for a resident who needs a staff member for a non-emergency, you want to make sure someone will be there to help within a reasonable amount of time. 

Are staff members on site 24/7?

Is this facility fully independent, or are there staff members on site 24/7? This is an important question for those who feel their loved ones need someone to be available if needed. Most independent living facilities will have at least a few caretakers onsite overnight, but it is still a question worth asking.

Is the community prepared to give a higher level of care if a situation changes, or will they have to move?

Sometimes, a loved one is heading to an independent living facility simply because they no longer want to live alone, keep up with housework, or live far from family members. However, situations can change in an instant, and it’s important to find out if the particular facility is prepared to take on extra care. While your loved one may not need meals delivered, medicine administered, or housekeeping at this time, it is a possibility that they will in the future. Depending on your situation, you may decide that a facility who offers more specialized care is a better fit for your loved one. 

What security and safety measures do you have in place?

Are there security guards on site, and if not, are there buttons or phones readily available to call for help? Remember to ask about the visitation policy, and how the facility manages who does and does not have access to the property. 

How can residents file a complaint if they are having issues?

While you hope your loved one has no complaints about their new home, it’s important that their chosen independent living facility has a plan to collect and report those complaints. Whether it’s a complaint about their living space, a caretaker, another resident, or a stranger walking around the property, ensuring that your loved one is heard regarding their concerns is important. 

Ask About the Community

Is the community easy to navigate and accessible for less mobile residents?

Most independent living facilities are going to be accessible, but ask anyways in case there is a service that a differently-abled person may not be able to use. Also, ensure that if your loved one were to eventually need a walker or wheelchair that they will still be able to live their life fully at the particular facility. 

What conveniences are nearby – outdoor activities, exercise areas, hospitals, etc?

Hopefully, your chosen facility will have enough amenities included that venturing outside is not a common occurrence, but sometimes your loved one will want a change of scenery. Does this facility have easily accessible grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and entertainment? And if not, is there a bus that takes the residents somewhere that does? While your loved one may be able to drive their car now, this may not always be the case and having additional options is important. 

Are there visiting hours, or can I have visitors at any time?

Does this facility have specified visiting hours, or can we visit our loved one at any time? An important follow up question would be regarding your loved one leaving the facility and if there are any specified times they need to be back. Can you stay overnight at the facility, and can your loved one stay at your house? 

Can we talk to another family with a loved one at this community as a reference?

The best way to find out what an independent living facility is like is to talk to someone who either lives there or has a loved one who does. While they may say no, always ask if they have contact information for a current family to discuss their opinions on the facility. 

Trust The Village at Germantown

At the end of the day, it’s important for the independent living facility you choose to take your questions and concerns seriously and reassure you that your loved one will receive the best care. At the Village of Germantown, we offer many amenities, as well as on-site healthcare, including memory care, assisted living, and support groups. We also offer on-site barber shops, scheduled transportation, and a shopping center is located right off site. Trust the Village of Germantown to care for your loved one the way they want to be cared for. 

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Posted by Carrie Atkins at 2:41 PM

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