Below are some considerations to help you evaluate an assisted living community. Print out this guide and bring it with you when you tour the community.

What to look for when visiting an Assisted Living Community

The following is a service checklist to help guide you. Determine whether each service is included in the fees or is available for an additional charge.
Good status with the state licensing agency Beauty/barber shop
Varying levels of assisted care available Emergency pull cords
Residential “look and feel” Fire sprinklers and smoke alarms
Quality meals and dining service Apartments convenient to dining room
Varying menu Private full bathrooms
Accommodation of special dietary needs Step-in showers
Clean dining area Handicapped access
Elevator Kitchen or kitchenette in unit
Handrails in hallways Sufficient closet/storage and living space
Friendly, cheerful staff Individually controlled thermostat
Sufficient staff-to-resident ratio Strong management track record
Guest accommodations

Assessing an Assisted Living residence as you tour the community:

Yes No N/A
As you arrive at the residence, do you like the location and outward appearance of the residence?
As you enter the lobby and tour the residence, is the decor attractive and home-like?
Did you and your potential resident both receive a warm greeting from staff welcoming you to the residence?
Does the administrator/staff call residents by name and interact warmly with them as you tour the residence?
Do residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable?
Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the residence and staff?
Do the residents seem to be appropriate housemates for your loved one?
Are staff appropriately dressed, personable and outgoing?
Are the staff members that you pass during your tour friendly to you?
Are visits with the resident welcome at any time?
Is the residence clean, free of odors and appropriately heated/cooled?
Does the residence meet local and/or state licensing requirements?


Is the community well-designed for resident’s needs?

Yes No N/A
Is the floor plan easy to follow?
Are doorways, hallways and rooms accommodating to wheel chairs and walkers?
Are elevators available for those unable to use stairways?
Are hand rails available to aid in walking?
Are cupboards and shelves easy to reach?
Are doors of a non-skid material and carpets firm to ease walking?
Does the residence have good natural and artificial lighting?

Needs assessments, contracts, costs & finances

Yes No N/A
Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
What is the procedure for assessing a potential resident’s need for services? _________________________________
Are those needs reassessed periodically? _________________________________
Can a resident be discharged for refusing to comply with a care plan?
Can the contract for service be terminated?
When may a contract by terminated? _________________________________
What are the refund policies? _________________________________
Are there any government, private or corporate programs available to help cover the cost of services to the resident?
What are they? _________________________________
Is a contractual agreement available to include accommodations, personal care, health care and supportive services?
Are additional services available if the resident’s needs change?
Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
How do you pay for additional services such as nursing care when needed on a temporary basis? _________________________________
What are the billing, payment and credit policies? _________________________________
May a resident handle their own finances with staff assistance if able or should a family member or outside party be designated to do so?
Is insurance required to cover personal property?
Is staff available to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs?


Medication/health care

Yes No N/A
Is there a medication regarding storage of medication, assistance with medications, training and supervision of staff and record keeping?
What is the policy?__________________________________
Is self-administration of medication allowed?
Does a staff person coordinate home care visits from a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, etc. if needed?
What is the name/title of this staff member? __________________________________
Are staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or judgment losses?
Does a physician or nurse, visit the resident regularly to provide medical checkups?
What is the schedule? __________________________________
Is there a procedure for responding to a resident’s medical emergency?
What is the procedure? __________________________________


Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) if needed? ADLs include:
Dressing Using the telephone
Eating Shopping
Mobility Laundry
Hygiene and grooming Housekeeping in unit
Bathing, toileting and incontinence Transportation to doctor, hairdresser, activities, etc.


Features of individual apartments

Yes No N/A
Are different sizes and types of units available?
Are units for single and double occupancy available?
Do residents have their own lockable doors?
Is a 24-hour emergency response system accessible from the apartment?
Are bathrooms private with handicapped accommodations to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers?
Are residents able to bring their own furnishings for their unit?
What may they bring? __________________________________
Do all units have a telephone and cable TV?
How is billing handled? __________________________________
Is a kitchen area/apartment provided with refrigerator, sink and cooking element?
May residents keep food in their units?
May residents smoke in their apartments?
Can residents smoke in public spaces?

Social and recreational activities

Yes No N/A
Is there evidence of an organized activities program, such as a posted daily schedule, events in progress, reading materials, visitors, etc?
Do residents participate in the neighboring community?
Do volunteers, including family members, come into the residence to help with or conduct programs?
Does the residence require residents to undertake any chores or perform specific activities that benefit all residents?
Are residents’ pets allowed in the residence?
Who is responsible for their care? __________________________________
Does the residence have its own pets?

Food Service

Yes No N/A
Does the residence provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day, seven days a week
Are snacks available?
May a resident request special foods?
Are common dining areas available?
May residents eat meals in their units?
Are meals only for a set time?
May residents request times for their meals?

Although you may have additional questions and insights, please use this as a guideline to assist you with your initial tour and information gathering.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash