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Finding and choosing the right assisted living community can be a daunting task as there are so many options to consider when making this decision. To help you make this important decision, we have come up with a list of 10 things for you to think about while you are touring communities. The decision of “if, when, and where to move” resides with you and your loved ones, so tailor this list based on what factors are ultimately important to you.

1. Ask questions of residents and families

Ask residents and families for their honest opinions about the community. Residents and family members are almost always willing to share their experiences, both good and bad- so that ultimately you can make an informed decision.

2. Pay attention to staff friendliness

The attitude and friendliness of the staff is very important. Make sure that you observe several staff members interacting with current residents. Do they listen and make eye contact? Are they kind and patient? It is important that you have confidence in the community’s staff.

3. How clean is the community?

Does the community feel fresh and clean? Make sure to look past the furnishings and into corners, baseboards, and windows. Ask how often housekeeping is provided in your personal living space. Make sure you get full details on the type of maintenance provided and the estimated response times. Don’t forget to ask about laundry procedures. Ask for specifics on what is available and at what cost.

4. Ask security and safety questions

Safety and security features are very important for seniors and offer peace of mind for caregivers. Make sure that bathrooms are accessible and have grab bars in convenient locations. Ask how residents contact staff if they have an emergency in their living area. Find out about other safety features available in living quarters and throughout the community. Make sure you find out about staffing patterns to determine who is on-site at all times to assist residents. Are there registered nurses on site? How do staffing patterns differ at night?

5. Visit during an activity

It’s a good idea to try and schedule your tour in conjunction with a community event. Are the activities and events well attended?  Does the staff seem to be enjoying the activity as well? Take a look at the community calendar of events. Do they match your or your loved one’s interests? Do the events and activities vary in size and type? Do they include trips and outings away from the community? If it is important to you and your family, don’t forget to inquire about religious services.

6. Explore outdoor areas

Everyone wants to be able to enjoy a nice sunny day outdoors. While visiting communities, investigate the outdoor areas that are available to residents. Does the area feel safe and secure?

7. Arrange to dine at the property

As with most of us, the dining room experience is very important. Discuss entree choices and learn about dining hours, options and procedures. Make sure you or your loved one enjoy a meal at the property. Not only is it a great way to sample the cuisine, but it also opens up a great opportunity to meet some of the residents. Discuss what happens if a resident is unable to make it to the dining room for a meal.

8. Inquire about personal care

As you go through the tour process, make sure you ask a lot of questions about personal care. Discuss bathing options and bathing preferences. It’s a great idea to observe the current residents while visiting communities. Are they clean-shaven with well-groomed hair and nails? Are the residents dressed appropriately? Make sure to take into consideration what activities they are involved in and the current weather. Does the staff treat residents with dignity, respect, and a smile?

9. Ask about move-out criteria

Most people do not enjoy moving multiple times and seniors are no different. Ask about specific move-out criteria. Under what circumstances is a resident asked to move out of the community? What type of notice does the resident or caregiver need to give the staff? In many instances a 30-day notice may be required by the property.

10. Trust your judgment

As you are touring make sure you think about yourself or your loved one actually living at the community. Does the personality of the property match that of your loved one? Do you imagine you or your loved one being comfortable? Do you feel at ease? Are the staff and residents open, inviting and friendly?

We hope this list is helpful to you as you search for an assisted living community for yourself or your loved one.

If you would like more information about Pickersgill Retirement Community, please call 410-825-7432.

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