10 Things to Ask When Visiting Parents in a Home


"It was beautiful out yesterday -- did you get to spend some time outside?"

The person directing your facility tour before your parent moved in may have spoken glowingly of residents gardening, but now it's time to check if that matches up with the real deal.

Find out how often mom or dad gets to take a stroll outside. (For people with very limited mobility, that might not even happen without you.) A gorgeous garden that people only see from a window isn't quite filling its purpose, and we could all use some sunshiny vitamin D.

Many facilities offer chances to get off the grounds -- field trips or even a bus to the mall to do a little shopping.

Once you've checked the "outside time" box, ask about exercise. How often do mom and dad get up and get around? If they're wheelchair-bound or bedfast, is there a program of directed exercise they do in the chair or in bed?

There is a big and visible difference between older adults who exercise and older adults who don't. The longer you want a healthy mom or dad around, the more important it is to make daily physical activity a priority for them -- even if dad complains during the whole walk.