Sometimes, when all else seems equal between two assisted living communities, the people are what makes a difference in your choice. Here are some things to consider when evaluating the human element of a senior living community.
The first thing to look for are welcoming residents that have formed an active and supportive community. You may want to ask the supervisor about what types of social clubs the facility offers and what the attendance is generally like.
Another thing that can be a clue to an active social community is a resident mentoring program. A long-term resident may be assigned to each newcomer as a mentor, and this person would help your loved one to take advantage of the facility's programs and find a place in the community. These programs can be extremely valuable because they allow the newcomers to feel immediately comfortable in the new social setting and have a peer to ask questions.
You may also want to ask some questions of the facility's manager or coordinator in order to make sure that they are dedicated to the facility. For instance, it can help to ask some behavioral questions to see how they would respond to a specific conflict or emergency that matters to you. For instance, how would they accommodate a resident who isn't fitting in and is homesick? What would they do about a conflict between two residents? If your manager has already thought of how they would respond to those difficult situations, it can show that they are motivated to provide a high quality of life for their residents.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, be sure that both you and your loved one like the staff at your new senior living community. On your loved one's part, they will likely have to interact with this person on a daily basis and may be relying upon them to get basic needs met. If they don't trust or like the person, it can interfere with how they use the assisted living center's amenities.
At the same time, if you get along well with your loved one's caretakers, you will feel more comfortable asking them plenty of questions about how and what your loved one is doing in your absence. This will allow you to feel more comfortable that they are getting great care, and it will also help you to correct any problems early on.