6 People to Question When Evaluating Assisted Living Communities
Although assisted living serves a wonderful purpose, they are still businesses. And while most sales and marketing directors genuinely want each family to make the best decision, some unfortunately realize that emotional families are easy sales.
It’s your job to avoid this trap, kick the tires to ensure you’re buying the “product” that’s best for you and your family. This means being prepared to ask some tough questions. If you you’re not prepared, you’ll leave with nothing but a sense of completion and a shiny new brochure. What you won’t leave with is any useful information that will help you either eliminate that community from contention or move it on to the next round of consideration.
Preparing for Your Assisted Living Visit
Before you go, take a notebook and write the same questions you’ll ask on different pages. This will ensure you’ll ask the same questions at each community, and it will help you compare later.
Below are six people to question during your initial evaluation of assisted living. For each individual, think of the questions that matter most for you.
1. Sales and marketing director
The sales and marketing director will likely be your primary contact at the community. At many communities, this person is also responsible for admissions. Expect to get the pros, but not a complete picture of the cons during your discussion--unless you ask. Leverage this person’s knowledge of the staff to learn more about their backgrounds.
2. Activities director
The job of the activities director is to provide entertaining and stimulating activities for the residents. The demeanor and attitude of this person is tremendously important. Their patience, creativity and tenderness can make a world of difference in your loved one’s daily life. Find a grumpy one, and your loved one could be looking at days killing time rather than engaging their mind and sense of pride.
3. Medication manager
The medication manager (also called a “med-tech”) is responsible for getting all medications to your family member on schedule. In assisted living, residents are usually not allowed to keep medications in their rooms – over-the-counter or prescription. Spend some time with the medication manager to understand their experience and communication skills. Make sure the
night shift med-techs have the same training and language skills as the day shift.
4. Physical therapist
Depending on your family member’s ambulatory skills, the physical therapist may, or may not be, of value. Speak to the therapist to get a feel for the experience they have working with seniors. If you family member has a specific condition, make sure they have successfully worked with that condition.
5. Head chef
The head chef is responsible for planning the menu and managing the cooks. Look at the menu and ask how they plan for sodium, cholesterol and sugar-restricted diets. Ask to taste the food The sales and marketing director should happy to let you dine at the community. And that’s a great opportunity to observe the residents and check out the “feel” of the community.
6. Executive director
The executive director has ultimate authority over all aspects of the community and is responsible for maintaining records for state health inspections. You’ll run across executive directors that are all business. While it’s obviously important to take a business approach to the community, make sure this demeanor doesn’t come at the expense of the patience and compassion required to make the residents happy.
What other people do you think would be important to meet? Leave your comments below and let’s discuss it.
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