22 Questions to ask about assisted living

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I am often asked, “What questions do I need to ask before moving my loved one into an assisted living community?” Here is a pretty comprehensive list, but bear in mind, you are going to want to find most of these out through observation! Don’t show up and fire a million questions at the marketing director. I’m sure you can probably think of more questions as you go through this list.

  1. What activities are offered?
  2. Are there activities for people living with dementia, specifically?
  3. What about downtime? How much downtime is there for residents?
  4. What precautions do you have in place for people living with dementia in terms of safety? Locked doors? Alarms?
  5. Is this community designed specifically for people living with dementia?
  6. What time is breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?
  7. Are the other residents here about where my loved one is with regards to their cognitive ability?
  8. What time do residents wake up? What time do they go to sleep?
  9. Are there snacks offered throughout the day?
  10. How is the food?
  11. What is the staff-to-resident ratio? What about on third shift?
  12. Are there RNs and LPNs on staff, or just CNAs/caregivers?
  13. About how long do residents live here? Until they pass away?
  14. What hospice companies do you normally use? 
  15. Do you provide towels, toilet paper, soap, shampoo? What do we need to provide?
  16. What furniture is in each resident’s room?
  17. Are your staff members trained in dementia care? (If you ask this, they will say yes, even if it isn’t truly TRUE. Observe for yourself to find out.)
  18. If I need to reach a staff member via phone, who would I call? What if it’s the middle of the night?
  19. How many times per week do residents receive assistance in the shower?
  20. Are there many families who visit regularly?
  21. What outings are offered for residents?
  22. What entertainment is offered for residents? Does someone come in to sing or play an instrument?
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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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