Here are twenty important questions to think about when considering a retirement community:

  1. Do you like the outward appearance of the residence and is the interior clean, attractive and free of questionable odors?
  2. Were you greeted by the staff in a warm and friendly manner?
  3. Were you able to speak with residents? Were you able to observe warm and friendly interactions between staff and residents?
  4. Are visits with residents welcome at any time? If not, what are the visiting hours?
  5. Did you discuss the resident’s needs and do you believe the staff can provide the appropriate support, including in an emergency?
  6. Is the residence a continuing care, life care, or month to month? What is its licensure?
  7. Were the financial requirements, contracts, and costs clearly explained?
  8. Is it clear to you, under what circumstances a resident might be discharged?
  9. When may a contract be terminated and what are the refund policies?
  10. Does the residence accept government subsidies like SSI at residential or assisted living level and Medicare or Medi-Cal at skilled nursing level if the resident exhausts or has no other assets?
  11. Are there RNs, LVNS, and CNAs on the premises to provide for nursing and care needs? These needs may include: assistance with dressing, hygiene and grooming, transferring and mobility, bathing, toileting and incontinence, meals (cutting and encouragement), medication and treatments, using the telephone, shopping, laundry, housekeeping, transportation to doctors or hairdressers. Do you feel satisfied that the staff providing these services have sufficient training and are compassionate and responsive to residents’ needs?
  12. Do you know what information, documents and tests are required by the residence prior to a move?
  13. Do you have a choice about using the residence’s furniture or bringing the resident’s familiar belongings?
  14. Does the residence offer RESPITE care? (RESPITE meaning a temporary stay, usually 7-30 days)
  15. Are the rooms private or semi-private? Does each room have a private bathroom, if appropriate?
  16. Ask about telephone services, cable or satellite TV. How is billing handled?
  17. Were you invited to stay for a meal? Was it pleasantly presented and tasty? Can the kitchen provide special meals per dietary restrictions as needed?
  18. What is the pet policy?
  19. Did you see the activity calendar? Are the activities of interest? Are there activities and outings away from the residence?
  20. Would you feel comfortable as a visitor or resident there?

For more information and/or referral and placement services, please contact one of our A Right Place for Seniors Care Advisors at 1-800-804-3840 or visit our website