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Consider doing in-person research when selecting assisted living Jenny Wallis | Thu, Jul 31 2014 05:17 PM

Dear Jenny,
My aunt has recently taken a terrible fall and needs much assistance.  I work full-time and I am afraid she will need me when I am not there, so I am going to start looking for an assisted living community for her. What are some of the questions I should have? What are some of the things I should be looking for?

When looking at different assisted living communities, you should always make a point to tour the property yourself.  Does your primary care physician recommend a community and why?  What is the feeling you get when you walk in the door?  What is the impression you get when you see the residents? There are so many questions a person should have, but they should always go with the feel of the place.  Some of the important factors are what the apartments look like.  Are they furnished?  Does the place include pets?

If ever possible, try the food.  What does the dining experience look like?  A very important thing to consider is how the residents look. Do they look as though they are well taken care of? If you are ever given the opportunity, try to speak with them. Ask them firsthand how they like the community.  What don’t they like about it and why? 
When you see the staff interacting with the residents it can speak volumes as well.  Since these are the people who are going to be working with your loved one day in and day out, it’s nice to observe how they interact.

There are quite a few questions that arise before choosing a community.  There are never too many questions!

Below is a standard list:

Assisted living environment

• As you arrive at the community, do you like its location and outward appearance?

• As you enter the lobby and tour the community, is the décor attractive and homelike?

• Do you receive a warm greeting from staff welcoming you to the community?

• Does the staff call residents by name and interact warmly with them as you tour the community?

• Do residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable?

• Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the community and staff?

• Do the residents seem to be appropriate housemates for you or your loved one?

• Are staff members appropriately dressed, personable, and outgoing?

• Are visits with the resident welcome at any time?

 Physical Features of the Assisted Living Community

• Is the community well-designed for your needs? Is the floor plan easy to follow?

• Are doorways, hallways, and rooms accommodating to wheelchairs and walkers?

• Are handrails available to aid in walking?

• Are cupboards and shelves easy to reach?

• Does the community have good natural and artificial lighting?

• Is the community clean, free of odors, and appropriately heated/cooled?

• Does the community have sprinklers, smoke detectors, and clearly marked exits?

• Does the community have a means of security if a resident wanders?

If you have questions about senior care or helping an elderly loved one, contact Jenny Wallis, community marketing director at Villa Bonita Senior Living, at (619) 739-4400 or by email at villabonitamkg2@islllc.com.

Villa Bonita Senior Living is an assisted living community licensed by the California Department of Social Services and is located at 3434 Bonita Road, Chula Vista. You can also visit Villa Bonita online at www.villabonitaseniorliving.com.

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