Once you decide that it is time for your parents to move to an independent living community, the work definitely begins. It involves determining what your parents like and need, where they want to live, and, ultimately, if they feel comfortable in that setting. To help navigate the waters, here are some questions to ask when touring an independent living community.
How Independent are the Residents?
With many independent living communities, residents essentially come and go as they please. The concept behind these types of communities is that they simply live in an apartment in a facility that makes life a little easier for the elderly residents – no preparing meals – no home maintenance. Adult children of elderly residents breathe a little easier since they have the added comfort of knowing there are people to help in an emergency.
What Kind of Maintenance and Housekeeping Services are Available?
Depending on the facility, there are housekeeping services for each residence. They typically do the basics in each residence such as vacuuming, changing bed linens, dusting, and such. As for maintenance, most any reputable independent living community has a maintenance staff that is available to fix problems and handle the upkeep of the property. They may even help hang pictures (if you ask nicely).
What Kind of Planned Activities Take Place?
There are always activities planned for the residents – bridge, poker, dances, outings, birthday celebrations and more – the list goes on! Many adult children of elderly people living in independent living communities say that their parents have bigger social lives.
What Happens if a Life-Altering Occurrence Takes Place?
Senior living communities understand that life-altering occurrences like death are going to occur on a regular basis – after all, the residents are in their later years. Because of this, they are very well prepared to handle such situations providing any support and help the surviving partner may need.
How are Meals Planned and Served?
One of the key benefits of living in a community is that meals are prepared by chefs and served in a dining room setting. Depending on the independent living community, some provide residents with menu choices with general times for serving each meal while others have set menus and times for meals. In fact, it is always a good idea to schedule a tour just before a mealtime so that potential residents can get first-hand knowledge of meal time and the food served.
Is There Any Help with Personal Care?
Personal care depends on the facility. While some provide some assistance, others do not do anything in terms of helping people with individual care. With independent living, most residents do not need assistance with their day to day routine. That being said, it is not uncommon for some residents to have aides who stay and care for them on a regular basis.
Can You Visit with Residents During Community Tours?
Most communities love for guests to talk with the residents during their tours. Happy residents are the best way to promote communities and give you the opportunity to “pick their brains” about daily life there.
How are Emergency Situations Handled?
We recently had a visitor (the adult child of elderly parents) who was touring independent communities because she wanted to move her parents to a new community. While spending the night at her parents’ current community, there was a fire alarm in the middle of the night. She had questioned the process because of the lack of communication between the residents and management during the situation. When she questioned the management about the situation, they brushed her off. Be sure to ask about emergency situations like fire, ambulance and other occurrences. The management staff should answer any questions you have.
Are You Able to Talk with Management?
How else do you find out if they are friendly, helpful and if they like their jobs? You get a really good idea about the people managing an independent living facility by spending a little time with them and asking questions. Think about it – they have to really like being around the elderly.
Trust Your Gut Instinct
You have been told to trust your gut instinct – probably more than once. Having these questions to ask when touring independent living facilities gives you the opportunity to take your instinct to task.
Discovery Village At West End offers a variety of senior living programs to keep seniors healthy and active. Learn about our senior living options and amenities today when you contact us at 804.716.3463.