Choosing a residence

Deciding which aged care residence is right for you or your loved one comes down to personal choice, what meets your needs and what’s important to you. To make this decision, it’s best to tour the residence itself.

Some quick yes/no questions to ask before you book a tour:

1. Is the residence fully accredited? (If yes, continue)
2. Has the residence or provider been issued with any sanctions? (If no, continue)
3. (If your need for residential aged care is immediate:) Do you have any vacancies?

Some of the things to consider or ask during your tour of the residence might include:

  • Do you receive a warm welcome? 
  • Does the residence have a happy and positive atmosphere?

  • Are vision or value statements and the accreditation status on display? 

  • Has the residence won any awards of note? (These are often on display in the foyer area.)

  • Are staff members friendly and helpful?

  • Are staff members engaging with residents and each other?  What is the interaction like?

  • Is the person conducting your tour able to answer your questions satisfactorily?

  • Can the residence provide the right level of care required? (This is usually determined by a someone from the clinical care team or the Residence Manager by reviewing the Aged Care Client Record (ACCR) and meeting with the resident.)

  • What happens if care needs change over time? (See information on ageing in place)

  • What model/s of care does the residence use?
  • Are there any specialist care programs available? Such as dementia support, falls prevention, physiotherapy etc.

  • Is there clear signage around the residence to assist with finding your way around?

  • Is the residence suitably accessible for your needs? Such as elevators if multi-level, wider door-frames and hallways, support railings in bathrooms etc.
  • Do you feel safe, at ease and welcome?

  • Is there adequate lighting / natural light?

  • Is the residence at a comfortable temperature? Are there suitable heating and cooling systems?

  • Are there comfortable, inviting communal spaces for residents to enjoy?

  • Is the environment clean and maintained?

  • Is there any activity taking place at the residence that you can observe?

  • How do they develop their lifestyle programs? Do they request resident input?

  • Does the residence have any special programs or groups of interest that you or your loved one might want to participate in? Such as Men’s Sheds, art therapy, music therapy, exercise or walking groups, pet therapy etc.

  • Does the residence have or allow pets?

  • Do they host special events and celebrate special occasions/milestones? Such as birthdays, holidays, sporting events etc.

We recommend requesting a copy of the lifestyle program when you tour a residence. 

  • Is the menu seasonal and nutritionally balanced?

  • Are meals prepared freshly on site?

  • How many meals are included daily?

  • Are residents given a menu choice for their meals? (Often this is provided in advance with residents making their choices the week prior to allow for appropriate catering amounts.)

  • Is the daily menu displayed? (This can give an indication of the kinds of meals served.)

  • Can family/friends visit and share a meal with the resident?

  • Are there any extra dining services? (Some residences might offer pre dinner drinks and/or canapés, private dining rooms that can be booked by family and friends, or on site cafés, etc.)

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