The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we function in daily life. From grocery shopping to visiting with loved ones, people have implemented creative methods to say safe during normal daily activities. The world may feel as if the pause button has been hit, but that doesn’t mean your aging loved one’s needs have changed. Your family member or friend may still require assisted living care, so before you panic, consider a few questions to ask as you search for assisted living options during the pandemic.
1. Ask for a Video Tour
Many assisted living communities are offering virtual community tours. If you can’t step foot inside the building, the next best thing is to see it on video. You may feel hesitant to make such an important decision based off the view from a computer screen, but take control of the situation, and ask a few key questions when coordinating a video tour with a senior living community.
- Video Chat: Some communities might send a link to a virtual community tour that has been professionally recorded, set to music and shows the building at its absolute best. This is by no means a red flag, since most communities are proud to display their facility in the best light; however, you can request a FaceTime, Skype or Zoom call with the sales team to get a look at how the community appears in everyday life. Commercials are great, but real life is even better.
- Special Requests: Is a pool important to you? Are you looking for an apartment with a view? Do you want to see how long the hallways are to gauge the walk from your apartment to the dining room? Ask! Request specific views in your video chat and/or video tour.
2. Ask to Taste the Food
“How can I taste the food when I can’t enter the building?” you might be asking. Where there is a will, there is a way. If the taste of the food is important in your decision-making process, ask the sales counselor if it’s possible to give it a try.
- To-go Meal: Request a meal from the kitchen and ask if it’s possible to safely pick it up curbside. There may be a fee while some other communities might offer complimentary meals to those searching for a community.
- Drive-Thru Events: Some assisted living communities are hosting drive-thru dinner events. Check the community’s website or ask the sales team. These events typically include a chef-prepared family-size lunch or dinner. Typically, you’ll need to RSVP, and the delivery method is like a drive-thru restaurant, except the restaurant is the community!
- Meal Delivery: Meal delivery may not be an option at all communities, but if transportation is an issue or you don’t live near a loved one who no longer drives, ask the sales team if delivering a meal prepared by their dining team would be possible.
3. Ask about Activities
Staying active and engaged is vital for seniors. It can also be a top priority for those considering making the move to assisted living. Social distancing and new regulations have changed the way senior living community activities are conducted, but that doesn’t mean the activity calendar was simply tossed in the trash.
- Social Media: Visit the community’s Facebook page to view photos of residents engaging in activities. Scroll to view photos from prior months that show how a normal day might look, but also take note of how activities directors are getting creative in engaging residents while following social distancing protocol.
- Meet the Activities Director: If activities are important in your decision-making process, ask the sales team to invite the activities director on your video chat session. Ask direct questions to see how residents are staying social while remaining 6-feet apart.
As you search for an assisted living community for yourself or a loved one during the coronavirus pandemic, remain calm and never be afraid to ask questions. Senior living advisors and sales teams are prepared with answers as you walk through this overwhelming season.