#1 - Layouts - Pay attention to how the facility is designed with your loved one in mind. Is the layout of the building too large for someone with limited mobility? Will they get lost as they wander around? Can they safely walk around? How does it smell? If you find smells concentrated to one area on your tour this most likely a recent incident. But if you experience smells throughout the community, most likely indicate a bigger problem.
#2 - Activities - Does the community have an activity program? How often? Ask to see the calendar. Is it diversified? Does the person in charge of activities seem to enjoy it? Do the residents?
#3 - Staff -The attitude and friendliness of the staff are of the utmost importance. Make sure that you observe several staff members interacting with current residents. Do they listen and make eye contact? Does the staff treat residents with dignity, respect and a smile?
#4 - Observe Current Residents -Observe the residents living there. Are they kept in their rooms? Are they in activities? Are they clean shaven with well-groomed hair and nails?
#5 - Food - Do the residents eat together? Do they eat alone in there room? What if they don't like what's on the menu, can they have something else? Are they offered snacks? Are they extra? Make sure your loved one can eat or snack at any time.
#6 - Safety -Make sure you find out about staffing patterns to determine who is on-site at all times to assist residents. Make sure that bathrooms have grab bars. Ask how residents contact staff if they have an emergency at night. Find out about other safety features such as outside doors, and windows.
#7 - Personal Care -How does the community assist or manage residents’ medication needs? Don’t forget to ask specific questions about any other medical needs that must be met for you or your loved one. Is there a nutritionist for special dietary needs? Discuss bathing options and bathing preferences. Is there advanced care provided? Or, will the resident need to move for higher care services? What are the limitations?Ask how often housekeeping is provided in personal living spaces. Don’t forget to ask about laundry procedures. Ask for specifics on what is available and at what cost.
#8 - Outdoors -Everyone wants to be able to enjoy a nice sunny day outdoors. Are their outdoor areas that are available to residents. Does the area feel safe and secure? Is the area fenced in? Can the resident get out? Are they supervised while outside?
#9 - Questions - Ask questions to your tour guide, are they knowledgable, consistent with their answers? Ask to meet the nurse and other upper management.
#10 - Trust Your Gut -As you tour communities; compare your observations about the layout, the tone of the community, type of resident the community caters to, and whether the activity level will be suitable for your loved one. How “homelike” is the community? Do you imagine your loved one being comfortable? Do you feel at ease? Are the staff and residents open, inviting and friendly? Always remember to follow your instincts and your heart!