10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Long-Term Care Community

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10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Long-Term Care Community

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dementia-care-stockWhen senior loved ones require more daily nursing care than they could safely receive at home, Cincinnati families often wonder how they should choose a senior living community to meet their needs.

You want to be sure that the provider your family chooses is not only providing quality, person-centered care but that your loved one is happy with the arrangement and will have everything he or she needs.


1. What are the floor plan options?

Seniors have varying healthcare care needs including loss of mobility or cognition. Some require respiratory therapy or even 24/7 medical care.

Innovative continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) design their senior living apartments to facilitate those progressive levels of care.


2. Is there a waiting list?

There’s a critical shortage of senior residential care in the United States — especially now that the Baby Boom generation is reaching peak retirement age. Many communities are full and have waiting lists for prospective residents.

It isn’t a bad idea to get on the waiting list for your loved one’s preferred retirement community while he or she is still healthy and vibrant. Many seniors move into CCRCs while they’re still living entirely independently so that they’re ready to transition to higher levels of care, within the same community, when the time is right.


3. Do residents and staff members appear to be happy?

If the people who are already part of a given retirement community seem happy, fulfilled, or driven by a sense of purpose, it’s more likely your loved one would, too.


4. How carefully are the grounds and corridors maintained?

If a care center pays close attention to the smallest details, it’s more likely they provide excellent care. On your family’s visit, you should pay close attention to how the community takes care of the common areas inside and outside.


5. How secure is the community? What is its safety record like?

Are entrances secure and closely monitored? Are the parking areas well lit and regularly patrolled? Has the community experienced repeat vehicle break-ins or vandalism? Has the community passed all its regulatory and safety inspections with perfect or near-perfect scores?


6. Does the community pay close attention to resident hygiene?

Residents in a quality care community should appear well put together. They should be freshly bathed, combed and attentively groomed. Obvious hygiene issues could indicate that a facility’s staff is overworked or under-attentive.


7. What medical services does the community provide on-site?

Will your older relative have immediate access to the care he or she needs in an emergency? Do care providers proactively round at least several times a day to check on the status of all the residents who require close medical monitoring? What’s the ratio of nurses and patient care assistants to residents? Is there an attending physician onsite?


8. How’s the food?

This one’s fairly straightforward. On your tour, sample the cuisine. If you don’t love it, your senior relative wouldn’t either.


9. Does the community allow pets and service animals?

Many seniors find comfort and joy in caring for a dog, cat, or small animal. Some have need of certified service animals. If your loved one has a special animal buddy, will the community allow them to stay together?


10. Will the community fit your family’s budget?

Make sure there are no hidden fees, that you know precisely what is included in the monthly cost, and that your family has the resources to sustain placement. Consider choosing a not-for-profit community that commits itself never to ask a resident to move out if he or she outlives resources.


Learn answers to the financial questions Episcopal Retirement Services hears most often from seniors planning to retire and from their children.


Download Our Retirement Community Decision Guide For Adult Children


Kristin Davenport
January 31, 2019
Kristin Davenport is the Director of Communications for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Kristin leads ERS’s efforts to share stories that delight and inspire through social media, online content, annual reports, magazines, newsletters, public relations, and events. Kristin earned her BFA in graphic design from Wittenberg University. She joined ERS after a 25-year career as a visual journalist and creative director in Cincinnati. Kristin is passionate about making Cincinnati a dementia-inclusive city. She is a Lead SAIDO Learning Supporter and a member of the ‘Refresh Your Soul’ conference planning team at ERS. Kristin and her husband Alex, live in Lebanon, Ohio with their 2 daughters. She also serves as a Trustee and the President of the Lebanon Food Pantry and is a board member for ArtScape Lebanon.

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