Have you just started to do your research on assisted living facilities in the area? We want it to be a positive experience and for you to feel confident when visiting these communities. Here are some questions that you may want to start with when taking a tour.
1. Which services are included in the base monthly plan?
Keep informed about your costs and what services are covered in the monthly fee. You may find that your utilities, cable, and WiFi are covered in the monthly rent, but inquire about other services as well. Ask if weekly housekeeping services are covered in your rent, as well as how many meals per day are included. While some communities offer comprehensive bundles of services and amenities, others are more a la carte. Chesapeake Cottage is an all inclusive facility, no hidden fees!
2. How do you identify which care services my loved one needs, and how often will he or she be reevaluated?
At Chesapeake Cottage, a health care practitioner form is filled out by their doctor to see what their level of care is. This is reevaluated on an as-needed basis.
3. What types of activities and events do you offer?
There’s no reason that assisted living should mean all bingo all the time. Take a look at the monthly activity calendar for each assisted living community you are considering. Be sure that there are many opportunities for engagement available to choose from during the week, and determine if what is offered matches up with your preferences or interests, or those of your parent. Review the activities to make sure that there are some each week that will provide a genuine opportunity for pleasure, engagement, and socialization. Beauty, comfort, and even excellent care will ultimately be unsatisfying and unsuccessful if they come hand in hand with boredom and loneliness. Chesapeake Cottage has an activity director who has stimulating fun activities throughout the week!
4. Do you offer free transportation, or other transportation alternatives?
Even if you or your parent plan to do most of the driving after moving into assisted living, ask about the transportation services that may be available through the assisted living community. Some communities offer exclusive bus service that provide transportation to certain doctor offices, grocery stores, banks, or other hot spots. Inquire further to see if there are taxi vouchers or transportation coordination services available if you need to plan a trip to a specialist or destination not covered on the bus route. Even if driving is an option now, it becomes less advisable for many seniors as time goes by, and the comfort and reassurance of valet services may be very welcome in future times of illness or inclement weather. Chesapeake Cottage has transportation if needed.
5. What types of health services are offered on-site?
Check to see if there are any visiting clinicians that have office hours and space right at the assisted living community. It is common to find that doctors, ophthalmologists, podiatrists, and even dentists offer services a few times per month (or per quarter) at the community. If not, it is even more important to be sure that transportation is made available to the practitioners of your choice in order to ensure consistent access to quality medical care. Chesapeake Cottage has a 24/7 on call Registered Nurse, a doctor that makes house calls and transportation if needed.
6. Do you offer a choice for meals?
If the community offers meals in a dining room setting, ask if there are multiple choices for the entree. This assures that you can have something that you prefer in case you do not like what is featured on the menu. While you are talking about dining, ask to see a copy of the monthly or weekly menu, and consider scheduling a time to come in and eat a meal at the community. This will allow you to evaluate the quality of the cooking and also to get a look at the social atmosphere of mealtimes. Chesapeake Cottage has a full time cook that has preference sheets for each resident to include their favorite meals throughout the week!
7. When can I come for a visit?
A reputable assisted living community should never object to allowing you to spend time there evaluating whether it is a good fit for your or your parent. Whether it is stopping in for a meal or attending a class or activity time at the community, you should expect welcome and transparency at every stage. Many communities will even arrange an overnight or longer short-term stay so that you can get a real feel for what it would be like to live there, meet the neighbors, and see how the staff and the residents interact throughout the day and night. At Chesapeake Cottage, you can visit your loved one at any time!
8. What happens when I need additional services?
It is important to know what your long term plan is, in case you find yourself with memory issues or increasing physical problems in the future. Find out if your assisted living community offers memory care services or if it is connected to a skilled nursing facility and how that can benefit you if needed.
Don’t forget to include your own questions about things that are especially important, or worrisome, to you. These questions can help narrow down the field as you search for your best assisted living option.