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Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

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Housing Options

Choosing a Place to Call Home

Consider these questions when making a decision

Article Highlights

  • Check the facilities references
  • Talk to residents
  • Is moving in with family a good option?

En español | Although housing options may seem overwhelming, your parents' desires, finances and degree of need will narrow the focus. Consider these questions when making a decision.

See also: Assessing Housing Options.

Business Reputation

  • Is the facility licensed and operating legally?
  • Has its license ever been revoked — if so, why?
  • Are recent inspection reports available?
  • How long has it been in business?
  • Are financial records available?
  • What about references?

You can find answers to these questions by contacting the state licensing agency (search for the state name plus licensing — for example, Minnesota licensing — on the Internet), the local agency on aging and the Better Business Bureau.

Quality

  • Do residents look as if they have their needs met?
  • Do they seem to be content and interact well with the staff and owners?
  • Do staff and residents treat one another with dignity and respect?
  • Do staff members take the time to listen and respond to residents' needs?
  • What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
  • Are residents' rights posted?
  • What training does the staff receive?
  • What do residents and their relatives say about their care?

Safety

  • Does the facility have requisite safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and a sprinkler system?
  • How's the sanitation?
  • Are doors and locks secure?
  • Is someone on duty 24 hours a day, or is there an emergency call service?
  • Is a doctor available around the clock?
  • Are there obvious hazards?
  • Is medical care handled professionally?
  • Can those with physical disabilities get around the facility?

Amenities

  • Is the facility attractive and in good shape?
  • Does it have the style of living desired, such as a private apartment, private room and private bath?
  • Is it comfortable enough, with conveniences such as equipment, electronics, gardens and adequate space for entertaining or hobbies?
  • What meals are provided, and are the quality and quantity up to par?
  • Does the food suit your parent's taste, nutritional requirements and cultural preferences?
  • Are the social interactions and recreational programs appealing?

Next: Questions to consider about location»

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