This is a difficult time for you and your loved ones. You need to find the most advantageous assisted living facility for a senior who needs more care than can be provided at home. This can be time-consuming due to the many choices available and all the factors to consider: amiability of the staff, amenities, cost, and the details of the individual care plan. However, this process can be less stressful if you are prepared to ask pertinent questions. 


Your Top Priority - Safety and Cleanliness


 Without the proper cleanliness and safety precautions, your loved one’s physical and mental health could be impacted. Check the cleanliness of the rooms, bathrooms, outdoor areas, dining areas, and hallways. 


Since falling is a hazard for seniors, make sure there are sufficient grab bars and handrails in all areas and a zero-threshold shower. Check to make sure that there are sufficient and accessible ramps, elevators, stairlifts, and doors wide enough for wheelchairs. 


Other areas of concern are entrances and exits. You want them to be sufficiently staffed so seniors cannot wander out and strangers can’t wander in. 


Ask Questions about Staffing


Your loved one’s happiness in their new home is dependent upon the people who care for them. A caring, patient, and friendly staff will make all the difference in the world. While you are touring the facility, observe the interactions among the staff and residents. Are they doing everything they can to ensure that the residents feel respected and valued? 


The following are questions to ask the management of the facility: 

  • Is your resident-to-staff ratio sufficient?

  • How many staff members are on duty during the day and night?

  • Does your company perform background checks? 

  • What are staff training requirements? 

  • Do you require continuing education? 

  • Do you have a high turnover rate?

  • Do you have adequate medical staffing 24/7: CNAs and RNs?

  • Is there always a staff member available to meet all medical needs: medication distribution, emergencies, scheduled medical requirements? Is there a designated licensed professional that can be contacted in case of emergency?

  • Is there sufficient staff to assist with the residents’ daily needs: hygiene, dressing, communication, mobility, bathing, eating, and toileting? 

  • Who are your auditors and how often do they inspect?


Know the Community and Its Amenities


Your loved one is unique and the best facility provides for individual preferences, personalities, and needs. What do they most enjoy? If the facility cannot accommodate their specific requirements, then it’s not the right place for them. Lack of intellectual engagement can lead to depression and cognitive deficits. 


The type of activities offered makes a difference in the quality of life. If the resident loves singing or playing an instrument, is there a time set aside for music? If exercise is a concern, do they provide exercise instruction? Do they have a well-stocked library for readers? Are there any planned field trips? Ask to see a copy of the activity calendar to make sure there is a variety of activities offered. You might also want to ask if you could bring items that they like such as painting supplies. 


When you evaluate assisted living, consider that you are choosing a new community for your loved one. The other residents will become a new family and social activities will help your parents feel less isolated. If possible, observe a group activity that might interest them to assess the interactions. Ask the following questions to determine  adequate access to social interaction:

  • Is there a place for religious observances?

  • Is there a fitness center?

  • Is there a game room?

  • Is there a space for residents to drink coffee together?  

  • Is there outdoor seating for residents to gather?

  • Does the staff encourage socialization? 

  • Is there outside community interaction? 

  • Does the facility have a media room?

  • Is there a resource person to resolve disputes among residents? 

Other important amenities include live entertainment, interactions with volunteers, shared pets such as birds, cats, fish, or dogs, the ability to personalize individual space, and space for personal hobbies such as crafts or gardening. 


Taste the Food


For many residents of senior living facilities, mealtimes are times for both enjoyment and social interaction. Therefore, food is one of the major factors when choosing an assisted living facility. While evaluating the food, it is important to talk to residents for their opinions and to consider the preferences of your parents. This is especially important if your senior has to be on a special diet for health or religious reasons. You might also want to find out if particular meals can be prepared for special occasions such as birthdays or holidays. 


Concerning nutrition, find out if fresh food is prepared daily and if fresh ingredients are used. If meals are at a set time, are there meals available for a resident who might be unable to eat at that time? It is also necessary to know how many meals are served daily. Ask if residents can keep food in their rooms and if there are restrictions on the type of food that is allowed. 


Determining the Best Accommodations for Your Loved One


There are a myriad of things to consider when looking for a senior living facility in Atlanta. Some people don’t like to live alone and would be more comfortable with a roommate. Others find roommates annoying. Some people prefer that their living quarters be as compact as possible while others want as much space as possible. And since it’s heartbreaking to lose a pet, see if the facility allows pets and if there are any restrictions.


It is also necessary to find out what is provided by the facility and what the resident or family must provide. What, if any, furnishings are supplied? Is there a usable kitchen with appliances? Does the facility provide a house cleaner for personal spaces? Is house cleaning included in the price or is there an extra charge? 


Short-term and Long-term Considerations


Individual needs change; make sure that the facility you choose can adapt to those changes. Questions to ask include the following: 

  • Does each resident have a written care plan? Is it updated periodically? 

  • Is there a coordinator for medical visits and medication administration? 

  • Is there transportation available for physically challenged people for medical appointments?

  • Is there a clear medical emergency procedure?


The right facility can be a lifeline for seniors who can no longer live on their own.  We own two care homes that provide senior living space in Atlanta that provide companionship, healthy meals, and activities that enhance the quality of life for your loved ones.