Choosing an Assisted Living Community
Finding the Right Place
At GSL, we understand and appreciate the time and research that accompanies this big decision. With so many assisted living options available, finding a solution tailored to your unique needs and goals can be overwhelming. We’re here every step of the way. Here are our top 7 features to consider when researching a new community. We also encourage you to think about what is important to you and make your own list of criteria.
- Location, Location, Location!
Consider the surrounding community and the activities available nearby. Churches, senior centers, shopping, libraries, salons and other organization within the neighborhood could be more accessible in a larger area, but smaller communities may also offer just the lifestyle you're looking for. It's also important to consider if the community is near friends and family who could visit often.
- Is the community near a hospital or your primary care provider?
- Is it in a residential or urban area?
- Is it in a place that is convenient for you and friends and family members to visit?
- Home Sweet Home
While you are visiting different places, look carefully at the outside of the building and grounds. Be critical of the interior, as well. Ask about the included amenities and the quality of housekeeping services. Be sure to ask for a monthly or weekly menu. Even better, ask to tour around a meal time so that you can see the quality of the food and how it is served.
- Is the exterior landscape well maintained?
- Is the inside well-lit and inviting?
- Are there places to enjoy the outdoors?
- Does the community have a home-like feel, or is it more medically-oriented?
- What types of rooms are available?
- Are areas well marked?
- Are the rooms clean?
- How frequent are housekeeping and laundry services?
- What maintenance is provided, and how quick are responses?
- What meal choices are typically available?
- Do they accommodate special dietary restrictions and allergies?
- Does a dietitian review the menus?
- Social Butterfly or a Quiet Introvert?
The social activities, educational and spiritual offerings and outings can be the beginning of a new chapter for residents - enjoying new experiences without the hassle of household tasks. Consider how social activities foster friendships and add enrichment to daily life and be sure to ask for the monthly social activities calendar.
- Are there a variety of activities offered?
- Are you able to observe different activities?
- Are there many trips outside the community?
- Do planned events and activities match your interests?
- Are there many community volunteers?
- Is there additional cost for transportation?
- What spiritual services are available?
- Safe and Sound, Plus Medical Support
When determining your best senior living solution, safety and medical support are important factors. Be sure to ask if staff is on duty 24/7 and about other safety measures. While family and friends should be able to visit unencumbered, access should be monitored closely. On-site medical support is also important. From medication monitoring and daily care assistance, to more involved support of visiting physicians, matching your needs with what different assisted living communities offer will help determine the best fit for you.
- How are residents' needs assessed?
- What medical services are provided?
- Will my specific medical needs be met?
- How are medications handled?
- What happens during a medical emergency?
- Can the medical staff adapt to evolving medical conditions?
- Are there dedicated and regular visiting physicians?
- Are staff members available onsite around-the-clock?
- Does the management team inspire confidence?
- Are registered nurses available onsite?
- Financial Considerations
You shouldn't have to choose quality care over affordable care. Several factors determine the cost of living and what is included can vary greatly across communities. Be sure you understand what is included with your monthly rent and ensure that you're comparing "apples to apples." Many people are surprised to learn that quality care is within their budget.
- How much does assisted living cost?
- What is included with the monthly rent
- What services carry additional charges?
- What are the payment policies?
- Can the staff assist with money management?
- Is renter's insurance required?
- Observation is Key!
When you visit each community, look closely at how the staff interact with residents. Take note of how the residents are dressed and groomed. See how staff interact with one another and with guests. Observe how the place smells, feels, and sounds - is there a loud TV blaring in a corner, for example?
- Do staff know the residents by name?
- Are they spending time with the residents or moving along doing their work?
- Do current residents look well cared for?
- Do residents appear comfortable, happy and friendly?
- Is the staff happy and approachable?
- Do relationships with staff seem to be built on mutual respect?
- Licensing and Accreditation
It's also important to take a good look at who is working in these communities. Ask to see the latest state survey results. You can also check them out at the Ohio Department on Aging website
- What qualifications do the staff members have?
- What is the ratio of staff members to residents?
- Is the community licensed by the Ohio Department of Health?
- What training do they receive?
- Are they CPR-certified?
- Additional Questions
- How do residents contact the staff in the case of emergencies?
- What is the move in/move out process?
- How much notice is needed to move out?
- Are there elevators?
- Are pets allowed?
- Is there a waitlist?