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8 Questions to Ask Before Choosing Assisted Living Apartments in Houston, Texas

Choosing between assisted living apartments in Houston, Texas can be a difficult decision. You want to ensure that the community provides you with what you need while still empowering you to live your life the way you want. But how do you know which apartments will make that a reality?

Reading websites and pamphlets are a good start, but to truly understand how well a community will fit your lifestyle, you need to talk to their team members, take a tour and get all your questions answered.

Here are eight questions to help you make the right decision for your lifestyle.

1. What Is Included in the Monthly Rate?

Cost is a significant factor for anyone searching for a new place to live. However, the base price you’re given might not be the actual price you’re charged. Hidden costs and charges can drive up the monthly cost.

When asking about pricing, be sure to ask what’s included (and what’s not included) in the base price. The best communities include assisted living services at the base rate so you can get the help you need along with luxury amenities that give you more time to enjoy your retirement. Some of the services you may want to be included are:

  • Assistance with daily living activities
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry and linen services
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Fitness and wellness programs
  • 24-hour security
  • Health monitoring
  • Emergency assistance
  • Maintenance services

Some communities add one-time or additional fees for more involved health support or other services. Those additional charges may or may not affect your final decision. Make sure you know exactly what’s included in the price and what additional fees you may be charged to make sure you can afford the services you want.

2. How Do You Help Residents Transition to Your Community?

Leaving a cherished home is difficult, but the process can feel hopeful, even exciting, depending on how you are welcomed to your new home. 

Some communities will offer assistance with move-in services, and most communities encourage you to bring familiar decor from home to make the new residence feel welcoming. 

At The Buckingham, we go the extra mile to make sure residents feel like they are stepping into a new chapter that is just as luxurious as the previous one. Our partnership with A Changing Home, a moving firm with 25+ years of experience, gives residents all the help and support they need during a transition, including: 

  • Help decluttering and organizing items during a downsize
  • Home staging to sell your previous home
  • Full-service moving support, including finding movers and trucks on your behalf
  • Design services so that your room is move-in ready when you are

Ask about the extent of the move-in services that a community offers. Communities that provide the most value probably deliver value in other areas too. 

3. What Is the Ratio of Team Members to Residents?

Some states have mandated minimum staff-to-resident ratios in assisted living apartments. Texas does not. The only requirements set by the state are that there must be enough staff to maintain order and safety, provide necessary assistance, prepare meals and ensure safe evacuation in an emergency. Since there is no minimum ratio, you’ll need to ask for more information.

When asking about the staff-to-resident ratio, make sure that you specify qualified professionals. Some communities include team members such as groundskeepers or maintenance workers in their ratios. These team members are essential to your well-being, but they won’t be assisting you in daily tasks, so you should ask the community to separate them. You may want to ask:

  • How many team members will be available to assist you daily? 
  • How quickly are repair needs taken care of? 

Asking these specific questions will give you a better idea of what life in the community will be like.

4. What Training Does the Team Receive?

A highly trained, highly qualified team is vital for a great community. Ask what training and qualifications the team members have. Find out what health professional providers are available and how much experience they have. Don’t forget to ask about what training or education continuing education team members must complete as well.

When asking these questions, keep in mind that assisted living apartments are designed for supportive living. That means most adults are largely healthy and live independently, they just need some help with common tasks. If you or a family member needs more advanced support, such as memory care for dementia, you should look at a community setting with greater access to healthcare providers and higher team member training requirements.

5. What Do You Do to Keep Residents Safe?

Safety is a concern for all adults and typically includes both health and physical safety concerns. Residents with a spouse that needs care or adult children of a parent needing support will have anxiety about the future safety of their loved ones. A supportive living community should have practices in place that keep you safe from crime and can respond quickly to health concerns.

In most cases, security concerns are minimal. Communities typically have 24-7 security monitoring and are located in safe parts of town, so residents don’t need to worry. For health concerns, many communities have a nurse on-call and assistants on-site.

At The Buckingham, there is 24-hour support, an around-the-clock health monitoring team and 24-hour security. Apartment bathrooms have walk-in showers and an emergency response system. You can rest easy knowing that there are qualified individuals on-site at all times if you ever need them.

It doesn’t hurt to ask additional questions about resident safety, such as:

  • Is there an emergency response plan?
  • Are safety drills practiced?
  • How are medical emergencies handled?
  • What happens if the power goes out?

6. What Happens if I Need Additional Support?

When searching for Houston, Texas, assisted living apartments to call home, it’s important to look to the future. You need to know what the community offers for you now and what other support is available if memory impairments or mobility issues become a concern.

Memory care is a great example of this. Medically speaking, you’re more likely to develop Alzheimer’s if a close relative has also had the disease. If so, you may want to be prepared to deal with Alzheimer’s yourself and should ask the community if they also offer memory care. It’s easier to transition to memory care when you’re already living in a community that offers those services.

7. How Can You Help Me Maintain My Independence and Wellness?

Your personal goals should be a top priority for any community you join. Whether you want to maintain your excellent physical health or keep your mind sharp so you can continue enjoying your retirement, your community should help you reach those goals.

During your tour, talk to the team members about what you want to accomplish. How will they help? Do they offer fitness classes or a fitness center? Are there programs to help you strengthen your mind? A community that actively helps its residents improve their wellness is likely an environment that values independence and health, which is a good sign.

The Buckingham has a wellness philosophy called Aspyre, which focuses on a way of life that ensures you are physically active, your mind is challenged, you develop strong relationships, and any spiritual needs you have are met. That philosophy guides life in our community, ensuring that our team members help you achieve your personal goals and live life the way that you want.

8. What Attractions Are Nearby?

You won’t be spending the rest of your life in your apartment. In fact, you’re probably moving to a supportive living community to be more active, making the most of your money and time while you enjoy your well-deserved retirement.

Houston, Texas, has plenty of entertainment to offer. Ask the communities you tour about their location and what attractions are close by. Is it easy to enjoy the cultural and entertainment activities in Houston? Are there great restaurants just a few minutes away?

Your new home’s location, as well as the community’s ability to plan trips and activities in the surrounding area, will likely impact how much you enjoy your new apartment.

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