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    Choosing a Place to Call Home

    Consider these questions when making a decision

    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    • Has its license ever been revoked — if so, why?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.


    • 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?


    • 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?


    • 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?


    • Is it in a safe neighborhood?
    • Is it located near shops, doctors’ offices, places of worship and social contacts?
    • Is it reasonably close to adult children's homes?
    • Is public or private transportation easily accessible?


    • Are there restrictions on behavior such as smoking and drinking alcohol?
    • Are pets allowed?
    • Are guests, including overnighters, welcome?
    • Are there formal visiting hours?
    • How much flexibility is there for mealtimes?
    • In a shared setting, how are responsibilities determined?
    • How does management handle rate increases and discharge policies?

    Moving In With Family

    • Will this move cause or solve family problems?
    • If a parent and child are considering living together, can they and the others living in the house get along?
    • Is the space adequate?
    • Is the house equipped for the older adult?
    • Can you give the parent the attention she deserves?
    • Are your lifestyles compatible?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages for all those involved?
    • Are you comfortable with this serious commitment and reasonably sure it will work?

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