Questions to Ask

  • Is the assisted living or memory care licensed and did they pass an inspection conducted by a state agency? 

  • Do they currently have any citations?  Which ones directly impacted patient care?


  • Have they corrected all citations in a timely manner?  What corrective measures were taken?

  • What policies are in place to ensure residents are not being abused?  Does every staff member have an up-to-date background check?  What kinds of training and policies that protect the safety and wellbeing of patients and residents are in place and how often are they reviewed with the staff.  Ask how you would receive information on how to report concerns about the care and safety of your loved one. 


  • How many staff members are providing care during the day?  Does it change on weekends and evenings?  What is the staff to resident ratio for care?  Is the care staff also doing other roles such as admissions, activity director, janitorial or kitchen duties?

  • Test the call buttons to see how long it takes for a caregiver to respond to a resident or patient for help. It is a red flag when there is not enough staff to adequately care for the residents.  Frequent turnover in staff can be an indicator of management problems and cause disruption to the resident’s daily routine.

  • Follow your senses.  Are residents clean, well-groomed and dressed appropriately?  Are there unpleasant odors?  Do residents appear content?  

  • Are residents encouraged to have autonomy?  Are they offered choices?  Are they encouraged to help plan or choose activities?  Can they choose what time they wake or go to bed?  Can residents have visitors?  Can they leave to go on outings?  Do they have the freedom to exercise their religion or cultural preferences?  Quality of life is a significant factor to an individual’s health and well being. 







Start the Discussion

If you’re wondering how to start a discussion with an aging parent about a sensitive topic, you’re not alone.  Whether you need to talk about moving, giving up driving, or moving to a senior living community, knowing which words to use and to avoid can improve the odds of moving toward solutions.

Even if in the past your parent was sharing and receptive this can change due to aging-related issues such as depression, creeping dementia, lower self-esteem, or other frustrations.  On the other hand, a close-lipped parent may be relieved to talk because he or she is worried, too.

What to say about sensitive subjects can also be tricky because you have different goals.  Adult children want to solve the problem and move on.  Their parents, however, want foremost to maintain a sense of control and dignity.  Your goal in how to have “the talk”: Balance both sides by moving forward slowly and with care.






Do Your Homework

Before you say a word, take time to collect some information and research possible solutions.  Ultimately, the goal is to problem-solve together through a dialogue with your parent (not to dictate the solution or to convince through arguments).  But if you gather facts first, you’ll be able to help in a way that’s better informed and less stressful for everyone. 

Cheerful Seniors
Happy Grandparents