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Important Questions You Should Ask

When selecting a nursing home, assisted living facility, or any type of elderly care, we recommended that you ask the following questions of the administrator or admissions coordinator:

  1. What levels of care do they offer?
  2. Do they accept Medicare or Medicaid?
  3. Are there any restrictions on the type of patients they admit?
  4. What is provided for in the basic daily rate?
  5. What services cost extra?
  6. Is there a volunteer program?

We also recommended that you visit the facility and observe the following:

  1. Is there adequate staff? Check on how long nurse call lights stay on.See if the patients look clean and if they are dressed in clean clothes. Observe if staff members are kind and responsive when they talk to residents.
  2. Is the food good? Ask a resident how it tastes. See if it looks good and if it is served hot. Do the patients seem to get enough to eat? Are they offered second servings, diet permitting? Does the home serve snacks? Is the dining room clean and well furnished? Are patients assisted with eating when required?
  3. Is there an activity program? Ask if a full-time activity director is employed. Is a list of activities posted? Is there something for patients to do who are confined to their rooms? Are there many patients sitting around with nothing to do? Does the facility have community TV with good reception? Is there a volunteer program?

Based on the above factors, your choice of a senior/elderly care facility should include the following:

  1. Good visible resident care.
  2. Convenient location.
  3. Friendly, competent staff.
  4. Good food, well prepared, attractively served, in adequate portions.
  5. Clean facilities, free of unpleasant odors.