What Families Need to Know When Making Decisions

Posted on: February 21st, 2013 by Karen Black

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We’ve provided an organized list of some of the top things families need to be aware of and take into consideration when making decisions either for themselves or for other family members. You have the right to ask questions and receive the appropriate answers.

Stop by Westminster Village North for a print out of this comprehensive list of questions.

When considering a move to a retirement community, finances are one of the first components to consider in making a good decision. Learn more about that and resources to help here.

What Families Need to Know


Health Services:
If a couple is moving together, what happens if one spouse needs more care?
Who is the medical director and what are his/her qualifications?
Is there a continuum of care?
Do other doctors come in with services such a podiatry, vision, hearing, etc.?

Licensing & credibility:
Have you check the State Board of Health for survey results and a scorecard?
Is the community accredited?
Have you read the community’s blogs or visited their Facebook page?

Check out contracts or any other legal documents you will have to sign:
Do you understand reasons why a resident can be discharged?
Do you know what the family will be responsible for – such as providing personal items, laundry, etc.?
How much notice is required to vacate?

What is the staff vs. resident ratio?
Is the staff friendly when you tour?
Is the staff clean, appropriately dressed for the job, etc.?
Ask about staff training and certification details?
What is the staff turnover rate?

Do you conduct safety drills with residents and staff?
Does every resident have access to call buttons?
24-hour staffing?
Coded doors?

Exercise options?
Does the facility have a calendar of events?
Are a variety of activities, geared to the appropriate levels?
Are there specialized programs for Memory Care residents?

Quality of food service:
Can you have lunch or dinner before making a decision?
What are meal times?
Can you order at the table (restaurant style) rather than days ahead?
Have you seen a sample menu?
Is tray service available in the resident’s room?
Availability of snacks and drinks?

Scheduled trips to stores, doctors, etc. – cost associated?
Transportation to church, options on site?
Cost of private transportation, if available?

Accessibility of community:
Inside and outside – ramps, auto-doors, handrails, lighting, widened doors and hallways, etc.?

Financial arrangements:
Entrance fees, rentals, subsidized programs?
One cost or base plus add-on fees?
What extra costs will residents incur if additional services are deemed necessary?
Does the resident qualify as a long-term care insurance?

What is the atmosphere?
Is the resident profile such that one feels comfortable with having similar interests, backgrounds, etc.?
Is there a program for welcoming new residents?

Is the spiritual and emotional well-being of the individual addressed as well as the physical?
Is there a full-time Chaplain?
Are counseling services available on-site?

Is the community located in the same area as the individual has been living?
If individual is from out of town, is it close to family?
Are there nearby shopping and activities?

Common areas:
What amenities are available and are they easy to access?
(Laundry, gift shop, exercise room, pool, bank, etc.)

Are pets allowed?
If so, is there an additional deposit?
Is there a pet therapy program?

Aging in place:
Is there opportunity for aging in place or will individual have to move to another community if he needs a higher level of care?
Policy on home care agencies?

Are internet and cable TV connections including, are there additional charges?
Smoking policy?
Is there an on-site pharmacy?
Do you understand their therapy programs
Do residents have a choice of bringing their own furniture or all or some provided by the community?
Is person-centered care a focus?
Visiting hours?
Sign in and out forms for visitors?
Name tags on staff?
Heating and air arrangement – set temps or are residents able to set their own?
Gardening opportunities?
Secured outside area for Memory Care residents?

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