When touring assisted living facilities, skilled nursing, even independent retirement communities, caregivers may feel like they're getting a bit of a sales pitch during their visit. While AgingCare's experience with the staff at senior living communities has been extremely positive, employing some of the friendliest and most caring individuals who love their job, they do have a bit of a bias about their community. At the end of the day, they are a business and need new residents.

Taking a tour, and seeing for yourself as well as returning several times during different times of day helps to make the most informed decision.

One of the best ways to measure an assisted living facility's performance is to ask the residences who live there. Find out what other residents and their families have to say about the community.

Many senior living residents are happy to talk to guests. They enjoy the interaction and are happy to be asked their opinion.

Here are 12 questions to ask current residents to get real feedback about the senior living community from someone who lives there every day. If you let them talk about their experiences, you will learn a lot about the type of care, activities and social events that take place. Getting this perspective before your parent moves in is a good tool when deciding on which senior living community is right for mom or dad.

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Informally interviewing residents: 12 questions to get the conversation started

  • What do you like? What don't you like?
  • How do you like your apartment? What do you like most? Least?
  • Do you get along well with the staff? Are they friendly?
  • Is there always a staff member to help when you need assistance?
  • Are your health concerns addressed right away and to your satisfaction?
  • Do you enjoy the group activities?
  • What kinds of activities do the residents participate in?
  • Do you have a lot of friends here?
  • How's the food?
  • Is the transportation at convenient times? Is it reliable and arrive on time?
  • Is someone there to help seniors on and off the bus, including any mobility equipment?
  • How long have you been living here? Have you experienced any problems?

If your parent is willing and able, invite them to participate in the conversation. They may have some questions to ask of their own, seeing as it is potentially going to be their new home.

You will likely find out good and bad things no matter where you go, but taking the time to get the complete picture can save you a lot of grief and heartache in the long run.

It's easy to get glowing reports from facility administrators, but you can feel even more confident about your long-term care choices when you know that other residents are happy and satisfied. So if you are looking for senior living, do you your homework and you will feel more confident and less guilt about the move.