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Tour Guide Checklist:

Use this guide to assist you when comparing assisted living and other senior communities.  Remember that this is just a guide to assist you. Services, features and personalities all have a part in your choice. You may want to print and take this guide to each community you visit.

Select a Topic:  Location/Appearance  Staff/Residents  Design/Features Activities Resident Apartments  Dining/Meals  Medical Staff  Admission Process
Community Location, Appearance, Atmosphere and Cleanliness Is the location of the Community appropriate and convenient for everyone?
  • Do the grounds offer safe areas for outside activity or enjoyment?
  • Are the common areas/public areas clean and well maintained?
  • Do residents seem to enjoy using the public areas, do they look inviting and comfortable?
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Staff and Residents
  • Were you greeted when you arrived?
  • Did you feel welcomed into the Community?
  • Do staff interact pleasantly and appropriately with other residents?
  • How are staff dressed and groomed, are they friendly?
  • Are you able to talk with any residents? If so, ask how they enjoy the Community and what are some of the things they enjoy the most about their home.
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Community Design and Features
  • Is the Community senior-friendly? Note the hallways, doorways, exit and entrance areas to public areas for accessibility and safety features.
  • Are floor surfaces consistent and are transitions from floor to carpet smooth?
  • Is lighting adequate in all areas? Is there a pleasant mix of natural and artificial lighting?
  • Are temperatures consistent throughout the building and kept comfortable for residents?
  • Is there a need for an elevator? Is it easy to operate and large enough to serve the residents?
  • Is there a generator or back up power source, or a plan for extended power outages?
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Resident Apartments
  • Do bathrooms have rails where they can be useful? Are the fixtures for the sink and shower easy to manage and do they offer a no-scald feature?  Note other accessibility features.
  • Are the apartment/room sizes acceptable? Does each room have its own lockable door?
  • Are emergency call lights and/or intercoms placed in convenient locations throughout the apartment?
  • Are intercoms used in the building and for what purpose.
  • If there is a kitchen how does it lay out?  Do they offer safety features for appliances?
  • Are telephone and TV cable ports available and how is cable and phone service provided?
  • Do units seem quiet and comfortable?
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Dining and Meal Service
  • Is there a common dining room? Is there more than one dining room or a place for guests to dine with residents?
  • Are all meals provided and how are they served, buffet-style or is table service offered?
  • Are special diets accommodated? Are various food preferences taken into consideration?
  • Is the kitchen and dining area clean between meals and pleasant during meal service.
  • If possible, ask to sample a meal, ask for a copy of a current weekly menu.
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Healthcare and Medical Staff
  • What kind of medical support is available for residents.  Are there licensed nurses on duty? If so, how many hours each day are they present and what is their main function?
  • If medical support is not available on staff (check for state requirements), what medical support can be accessed. Is there an agreement with a local nursing agency or home care service?
  • How do non-licensed staff respond to resident medical needs, in non-emergency and in emergency situations?
  • What kind of day-to-day assistance is available for residents?
  • How far are medical services or, in the event 911 must be called, what is the average arrival time for emergency medical personnel?
  • How are medical records kept and maintained for each resident? Who can see them?
  • At what point are residents required move to a higher level of care if their needs increase?
  • How does the staff communicate with the resident and their family contacts regarding increasing care needs or possible discharge?
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 Activities, Socialization and Recreation
  • Do you see activity programs in progress? Are there events scheduled and posted in a central area?
  • Is there a staff member or coordinator available to lead or organize activity programs?
  • Ask for a schedule of activities. Do you see a variety of programs and events that are able to meet a wide range of interests?
  • Note the blend of various programs including: education, exercise, entertainment, religious, social and supportive programs.
  • If you can, ask other residents about activities and programs available at the Community.
  • What is their policy about visitors, volunteers, pets and visiting animals?
  • Is there transportation available to take residents to outside events?
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Admission Process, Rates and Paperwork
  • Is the apartment fee and admission/rental agreement available for you to review?
  • Is the agreement easy to understand and are staff able to readily answer any questions about the terms outlined in the agreement?
  • Are there charges involved in reserving an apartment/unit and can the charge be refunded or applied toward rent?
  • What else does the admission process include? Do they assess resident's individual needs prior to move-in?
  • How are charges determined and what is actually included in the charge? Ask for a detailed breakdown of services included in the monthly fee and the rates charged for additional services.
  • How often do rates increase and what is the average increase amount?
  • If private financial resources are exhausted, is there a financial assistance program that will allow residents to stay at the Community?
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Remember.....As you learn more about assisted living and senior living communities, you will find many other items you will want to ask about in relation to the individual that is considering a move. If you can tour a community take notes, bring along a clip board to jot down your thoughts and ideas.

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