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Signs You’ve Found The Best Assisted Living Community For Your Parent

A Senior couple discuss questions with a staff member while looking at a laptop.

There are a lot of blog posts and articles out there about “questions to ask when researching assisted living communities” or “checklist for when you tour an Assisted Living community.” These are great resources, but at FellowshipLife, we think there’s more to how to choose the best Assisted Living community for your parent.

Questions to Ask Communities When Searching for the Best Assisted Living Option

Let’s start with the basics, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with a good list of questions. In fact, here are some we personally suggest you and your loved one ask every Assisted Living community you speak with:

1. What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
2. What kinds of training or qualifications do staff members have?
3. Is there a written plan for care tailored to the resident?
4. Which activities of daily living are included in the care plan?
5. Is there a seamless transition between different levels of care?
6. What are the Assisted Living costs I should anticipate?
7. Is there an upfront fee?
8. What is the dining plan?
9. When may a contract be terminated and what are the refund policies?
10. What’s on the calendar of activities and events for residents?
11. Is there a move-in coordination service?

Finding the Best Assisted Living Community Means Going Beyond the Basics

The questions above are a great way to help you and your parent compare various Assisted Living communities and narrow down your options. Once you have your narrowed list, it’s important to tour each community to get a feel for their level of service, take in the community, and get to know the personalities of the team members and residents.

We can’t stress enough how important tours are. Ask questions, have your parent imagine themselves as a resident, and get a feel for the layout and amenities. Visit with residents. Above all, trust your gut.

Questions to Ask Yourself/Your Parent to Reveal Their Best Assisted Living Option

1. When you pulled into the parking lot and looked at the community for the first time, did it feel like coming home? Every community will be welcoming. After all, they want you to choose them. But not all of them will make you feel like you’re coming home.

2. Speaking of welcoming, how did you feel on the tour? Were all your questions answered? Did your tour guide seem friendly and knowledgeable? Was there anything they didn’t want to talk about, or were there any off-limits areas on your tour?

3. Does your parent think you can readily make friends there? Assisted Living communities are like small towns. Making friends is important, not just for socialization but because these are people your parent will be living closely with for several years. Do they feel like they fit in? Do people share common interests, enjoy similar hobbies, seem open to new neighbors? Do they seem like longtime friends already?

4. Food is an important part of our lives. It takes on even greater importance when you move to a community and all your meals are prepared for you, out of your control. Does the food look good? How does it taste? Is there enough variety?

5. Keeping busy and engaged is an important aspect of any community. Are there activities and programs your parent would look forward to? Art classes? Music performances? History lectures? Fitness classes?

6. Along the same lines, do you believe this community will fit your parent’s lifestyle? They shouldn’t have to change their habits or preferences just to fit in somewhere.

7. What about faith services? Do you feel like your parent can continue their faith at this community? Do they have an active faith service on campus or provide transportation to services nearby? Are there religious study groups at the community?

8. As you toured the various floor plans, did your parent get excited thinking about decorating their apartment or deciding where their furniture or other items might go? This is another great sign. Some places just feel like home. Others don’t.

9. Do you feel like your parent would have to give up anything to live there? Aside from downsizing, are there any aspects of their life that wouldn’t be fulfilled at this community?

10. Is the contract easy to understand or at least explained to you in easy-to-follow language? Assisted Living contracts can be daunting at first. Make sure you and your parent understand exactly what you’re signing.

11. Does the cost make you uneasy? Finding a retirement lifestyle with the right amount of personal assistance can be expensive. Make sure you and your parent understand all the costs, what’s included and what’s extra. And crunch the numbers to ensure they can afford this community for the long haul.

The Best Assisted Living Is Right Here at FellowshipLife

Our Assisted Living communities in New Jersey offer great opportunities for cultural, culinary and communal experiences. We know that choosing the right community is a very personal decision. We’d love to tell you more about our communities and all they offer.