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- Has its license ever been revoked — if so, why?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