8 Red Flags When Touring an Assisted Living Community

Jun 3, 2016

8 Red Flags When Touring an Assisted Living Community

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Moving into an assisted living facility can be a bittersweet time for any senior, depending wholly on their circumstances. Because of this, it is recommended that the senior and their loved ones tour each facility that they are considering, in hopes of finding one that truly makes the senior feel at home. 

8 Red Flags to Look for While Touring Assisted Living

While most facilities offer exciting amenities and daily activities for all seniors, it’s important to notice any red flags you might come across while on a tour. Here are some of the big warning signs to look out for while touring an assisted living facility.

1. Staffing

Did you see an adequate amount of staff while you were visiting? Did each resident appear content, or did they seem to need more attention from the staff? Ample amounts of staffing in any senior living facility are necessary to ensure that each resident is getting the care and attention they deserve.

Furthermore, did the staff seem informed and knowledgeable about the facility, its amenities and everything else? Be ready to ask a few tough questions during your tour. Each staff member should be well informed of his or her surroundings. Similarly, did the staff appear professional? Were they in uniforms, and were they carrying badges/name tags? 

2. Cleanliness

Did the facility as a whole appear clean? What about individual rooms? It’s not rare for residents to be unable to completely clean their room without help, so discovering that many rooms were unkempt is a major red flag.

3. Customer Service

Was the staff friendly with you? Did staff appear to be helpful and compassionate toward the residents? Proper customer service is a must when touring any assisted living facility. Odds are, if they are not nice to you, they will not be nice to the residents.

4. Visiting Hours

Your loved one should be able to have visitors at any time of the day. Understandably, many facilities have quiet or “resting” hours, but visitation should never be restricted during meal times, activities or any other time. Limiting visiting hours can be a major red flag.

5. Past Violations

Do some research on each senior living facility you plan to tour. Do they have any major past violations? Is there any sort of trend in violations? Have they made an attempt to recover from the violation – i.e. letting go of a particular staff made who made the violation? Come prepared with questions about any violations that facility might have had, and insist on receiving answers.

6. Lack of Independence

Did the facility appear empty? Where are all those that are living there? This could be a sign that those living in this assisted living facility rarely come out of their rooms. While some residents prefer it that way, it’s often a sign that there aren’t many activities to get involved in, or that it’s not encouraged for residents to be out and about.

7. Bad Reviews

It’s not rare that there be one or two cases where a family member didn’t get along with a particular staff member, or had a dispute over payments, and left a nasty review online. Despite this, if you notice a trend of bad reviews online, it may be a good time to question whether or not this is the right place for your loved one. 

8. Hesitant to Discuss Fees

At most assisted living facilities, there is a monthly fee. What many people do not expect is for this fee to change monthly. Many facilities charge an additional fee for services such as meal delivery, bathroom assistance and more. If the facility is not up-front with this information, it’s a major red flag.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I was just told that my Dad is getting kicked out of assisted living. Is that possible?

Unfortunately, yes. Though it sounds awful, seniors can sometimes get kicked out of assisted living communities. Some of the reasons senior get kicked out are: endangering the health and safety of other residents or workers, breaking the rules, not paying the bill, or needing more healthcare than the community provides. However, most communities will provide residents with at least 30 days’ notice of eviction to allow families to plan around the situation. 

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What’s the difference between home care and an assisted living facility?

There are several differences between home care and assisted living. Home care means hiring a trained professional to provide care right in your home, while assisted living involves moving to a community to receive similar care. The amount of assistance that home care provides depends on your senior's needs and can be tailored accordingly. Home care can range anywhere from weekly companionship and therapy to 24-hour skilled nursing care or even hospice. In contrast, assisted living provides seniors with an enriching community of their peers and medical attention as needed, making it a flexible option for many. 

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