Now that I'm off the iPhone and onto my desktop: What to look for?
When you tour a community, take a sniff. Do you smell a nice neutral scent, or do you catch a hint of urine or feces? Is the facility clean? Are the staff friendly and helpful? Do they take an active interest in the residents, or do they look like they're just going through the motions? How do the residents look---are they groomed properly, are they bathed and fresh, are their clothes clean? Do they look happy to be there?
Ask to have a meal at the facility (I've never known a place that didn't include lunch or dinner during a tour, but I suppose there are some exceptions.) and ask the dietary staff how they prepare the food. Does it look, smell, and taste good? Is it the appropriate temperature? Does the community offer special diets/textures? (These are usually pretty limited to NAS, cardiac, CCHO, mechanical soft.......we don't thicken liquids because we don't handle residents who need them due to liability issues.)
Inspect at least 2-3 apartments if possible. Do they have private walk-in/roll-in showers? Are they clean and fresh-smelling? Do they have their own heat/AC? A kitchenette? Does the facility furnish towels, shower curtains, TP etc.? Can you bring your own draperies, or paint the unit as your folks would like? Does the unit have pull cords in the living room, bathroom, and bedroom, or does the resident wear a special call pendant (much like Lifeline)?
Activities: Are there enough, and are they appropriate for residents of differing age groups and cognitive status? Does the community have a bus to take residents to appointments and outside activities?
Levels of care and of course, prices: What services does the community provide, and what are the criteria for move-out should one or both parents need a higher LOC? Is there a nurse on duty at least 24 hours per week, and what is her/his function---direct care, or mostly administrative? Who covers on weekends/holidays/vacation?
OK, that should help get you started. Wishing you luck in finding the right place for your Mom and Dad.
PM me if you want to.