When you or an older family member begin to consider a move to a senior living community, figuring out what to ask and what to pay attention to when you visit each one can be confusing. From mastering new terminology to understanding the pricing structure, there is much to learn.

What to ask on touring a Senior Living Community

1: How are caregivers recruited, screened, and trained?

Providing quality care relies on experienced, well-trained caregivers. Make sure you understand how each community recruits and trains its team members. You also want to find a community that offers caregivers opportunities for continuously improving their skills. Finally, make sure you understand what type of background checks the community performs.

2: What is the caregiver to resident ratio?

This is another key factor in providing quality care. When a senior living community is well staffed, caregivers have the time they need to provide the highest level of care.

3: What is the senior living community’s longevity of caregivers and managers?

One sign of a well-run community is when the staff has longevity. When turnover is low, it allows residents, staff, and even families to get to know and trust one another. This promotes better continuity of care.

4: What happens when a resident needs more assistance?

Will your family member be able to receive more care right at the senior living community or will they have to move again? Moving is tough at any age, but when you are older and experiencing health problems, relocating is especially difficult. Clarify what happens when a resident’s needs change.

5: What is included in the monthly fee and what additional charges should you expect?

Every senior living community has their own pricing structure. This makes it more difficult to compare the costs of one community with another. So be sure you ask what the standard monthly fee is and what additional charges you should expect to incur each month.

6: How often do rates increase?

As is true of any type of business, the expenses associated with operating a senior living community increase. Caregiver salaries go up, the costs of meals increase, as do supplies, insurance, and utilities. Ask the staff member you meet with how often rates increase and how much they typically go up.

7: Pay attention to relationships

One sign of a quality senior living community is when there are positive relationships between the staff and residents. You can often gain insight into these relationships by paying close attention to the people you encounter on your tour. Do residents seem engaged with staff? Are family members visiting? Do they seem happy or disgruntled? Do staff members greet residents and family members by name? Pay close attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues. Facial expressions and body language can be very telling.

8: Is the community well-maintained?

A clean, well-maintained physical environment is another good sign. And it’s important to look beyond the lobby. Are resident rooms and common areas clean and odor-free? Is the dining room well cared for? Do you see repairs that need to be made and other maintenance issues as you make your way around the community? Are the grounds and parking areas well cared for? Take good notes on what you observe during your visit.

9: Ask to view the community’s state survey results

During your tour, ask to see a copy of the senior living community’s state survey results. By law, they are required to provide this information to you. Take time to review the surveys and ask questions about any items you don’t understand or are concerned about.

10: Ask for copies of all required documents

One final tip is to ask for copies of all the documents you will be required to sign if you choose to move to the community. It often helps to have an experienced elder law attorney review the documents with you and point out any potential concerns.

Have more questions about senior living in Florida?

The Sonata Senior Living valuable insights page is a great resource to review. You will find answers to frequently asked questions ranging from special diets to family visitor policies.

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Scheduling a visit is the best way to get a feel for our community. During your visit, you'll be able to experience different living options, check out our numerous amenities, and speak to residents.