You have compared your senior living options, like independent living and assisted living communities, group homes, and more, and determined that an assisted living community is the right choice for you or a loved one. You may have also evaluated potential assisted living communities and determined some top choices or are in the process of doing so. Since your new residence will serve both as a home and a health care resource, there is a lot to think about when looking for assisted living near you. In addition to learning about the community offerings, staff, and available activities at an assisted living community, you’ll understandably have many questions about the specifics of your assisted living apartment.
Much like the activities on the community calendar or assisted living costs, apartment floor plans and available amenities vary by location. In addition to accessing virtual and in person tours, having a detailed list of questions to ask about the apartment itself is essential. The frequently asked questions below can help ensure you and your family have a comprehensive understanding of the apartment offerings, beyond what may be evident in an initial tour or sales pamphlet.
14 Questions to Help You Assess Assisted Living Apartments
While the following FAQs may not exhaust all questions, especially those that are specific to individual preferences or health care needs, they can help you move further toward a final decision when it comes to the assisted living community or apartment that will be best for you.
- Is there a resident assessment or other approval process required to live in the assisted living apartment? In addition to paying rent, insurance requirements or an assessment of care needs by an onsite medical coordinator may be part of the application process.
- What apartment sizes and layouts are available? The website of an assisted living community might show you a variety of floor plans that exist on the property, but they may not all be available. Additionally, not all floor plans may be able to accommodate all existing or potential care levels. You might also be shown a sample apartment, but that might not be the only apartment layout available. It’s important to learn about all of the possible options, as well as which may be available for your particular move-in date or if there is a waiting list or wait time for certain apartments.
- What is the process for moving between apartments? Some people may want larger apartments initially but then choose to downsize due to factors like reduced mobility or income. Additionally, individuals may prioritize becoming a part of a particular community over initial living space. Once they are in that community, they may want to know about this process should a more preferred location become available. Make sure you know not only how to move out of the community, should that be necessary, but also within the community itself.
- Are the apartments furnished or unfurnished? Do the furnishing options change if necessary health care services merit an apartment change? Many individuals feel comforted and more at home by including their furniture in a new apartment. However, some of their own furnishings may no longer accommodate residents’ mobility issues or other health concerns. Ask about moving practices and policies as well, so you know if a certain moving company needs to be utilized or if the family is responsible for the move.
- What are the bathroom options? For example, if only select apartments include wheelchair accessible bathrooms, then your living options may be more limited. If you need help with bathing or going to the bathroom, determine if the bathrooms and staff can accommodate this type of support, as well as if either the equipment or the staff services come with additional fees.
- Which apartments include kitchens? What kind of kitchen facilities are available? In some assisted facilities, apartments may only have kitchenettes with sinks and small refrigerators in unit, but they may have full community kitchens available for resident and guest of resident use. Other locations may have apartments or select apartments with full kitchens.
- What safety or memory support features are included in the apartments? The answers to this question may result in a smaller pool of available apartments or determining that a community may not have the features that support the care currently needed. For example, if you use a walker or wheelchair, accessibility features like wider doorways and hallways will be helpful in moving around with greater independence. Emergency call systems will be a welcome addition and offer peace of mind for both the residents themselves and their loved ones.
- What kind of storage or closet space is provided? Is there any supplemental storage available? There may be a standard set of storage available in the apartment, such as a dresser, nightstand, and single closet of a set size, or the storage space may be subject to the resident’s own furniture selection. The available closet space may also vary by apartment layout.
- Are there any guidelines specific to customizing the apartment? For example, can the residents install additional shelves or hang mirrors or pictures? Can they paint the walls a different color? Are customizations possible but required to be handled by onsite maintenance and/or subject to an additional charge?
- Are there any limitations regarding personal electronics, wifi or cable access, additional appliances, etc.? If you are a person who thrives on those daily emails from the family or enjoys the occasional video chat with your sister in Florida, see if this communication is operable from your apartment or if it needs to be facilitated by a staff member. If you have a favorite program or streaming service, find out whether or not this channel or service will still be available or what any provided TV service includes.
- How is laundry and housekeeping addressed? Some assisted living apartments may come with washer and dryer units. Some communities may provide the option of adding laundry service or allowing families to care for the resident’s laundry needs. Similarly, housekeeping may be included in the apartment fee, as an additional fee, or on a tiered plan according to the number of housekeeping services required and service frequency.
- What are the policies regarding guests and assisted living apartments? What are the policies about residents leaving the facility for the day or for extended periods? From the option to have your out-of-state grand-daughter stay for a night or two to hosting your weekly bridge group, make sure you understand who can visit you, when, and for how long. Also ensure that you know the procedures regarding leaving the assisted living community for a day out with your friends or a holiday week with family.
- Is the community pet-friendly? If so, are there any restrictions, additional fees, etc. associated with bringing your beloved pet to your new assisted living apartment? Pets can provide such emotional support in general and during a transitional time, like the move to an assisted living apartment. Make sure you have all of the information regarding their care as well as your own to determine if the assisted living apartment is right for your pet and for you.
- How are mail and packages processed or handled? From handling bills to receiving your latest online order, find out these details to make sure you and your loved ones know all of the ways that you can be reached and receive special (or necessary) deliveries.
Since moving into an assisted living community may be the result of additional health care needs, this focus may drive initial conversations and evaluations of assisted living communities. However, as important as it is to know the staff’s availability to respond to any emergency 24/7, manage medications, or provide transport to medical appointments, understanding how you can make an assisted living apartment into your home is equally essential. For questions about the assisted living apartments at Arbors of Hop Brook or to schedule a tour, connect with us today.