What to Look for in an Assisted Living Residence
Assisted Living, Housing with Services,
Catered Living, & Service Rich housing are all names
that describe a type of housing that helps people with
some of the activities of daily living. The service can
be as simple as lunch five times a week or it can be a
full array of services from a menu of options. As a consumer
you need to have a full understanding of your own needs
as well as a full understanding of what the residence has
to offer. We recommend that you call ahead to set up a
tour. You may want to make more than one visit at different
times of the day. Make sure to indicate that you would
like to meet with certain staff members to learn more about
the building. If you are helping someone try to include
them in the decision making process as much as possible;
it will increase their satisfaction level. For more information
visit the website www.alfa.org for the Assisted Living
Federation of America.
Where to Start
Be honest with yourself—what
are your needs?
Try to anticipate your future needs.
Call & set up tours of places that interest you.
Atmosphere & First
Is the building well-kept, in good repair?
Grounds well maintained?
Are the common areas attractive?
Does it look like a place you would like to live?
As you tour, does the building smell clean, fresh?
Does the staff treat the residents in a warm, friendly
manner & call them by name?
Is staff appropriately dressed & open to questions?
Does the building make sense? Is the
floor plan easy to follow?
Can you find the exits easily?
Can you control the heat/air in your own apartment?
Is the building accessible for wheelchairs & walkers?
Are cupboards & shelves easy to reach?
Is there enough storage?
Are floors easy to walk on? Are floors non-skid?
Are handrails available?
Does the residence have sprinklers?
Is the building well-lit? Is there enough natural light?
What type of security system do they have?
What type of response system do they have; pull chords,
Is a wearing a pendant mandatory in order to live there?
Community, Guest, Craft, Game, Computer & Television, & Exercise
Rooms, Chapel, Meditation, Library, Patio, Porch, 3 Season
Room, Solarium, Garden, Greenhouse, Plant Room, Whirlpool,
Pool, Wellness Center, Fitness Trainer, Exercise Programs,
Post Office, Convenience Store, Pharmacy, Beauty Barber
Shop, Coffee Shop, Garages &/or Off Site Parking, Car
The Individual Apartments & Suites
all units have cable TV, telephones, & internet
lines? How is the billing done?
Can you lock you own door?
Can you bring you own furnishings & what furnishings
Are bathrooms private; will they accommodate a walker or
Is a full kitchen available?
Social & Recreational
Do the residents
appear to be compatible neighbors/friends for you?
Are pets allowed? Does the residence have its own pets?
Are there any social activities/outings?
Is there a monthly calendar of events, newsletter?
Are there certain hours family and friends may visit?
Do the residents socialize & appear contented & comfortable?
Ask for list of services.
What services are provided & in what capacity? For
example do costs include meals 7 days a week or 5 days
Can purchase services as you need them or do you need to
purchase a package of services?
Type of transportation available & is it available
on short notice?
Is there a pharmacy, post office, convenience store on
site? If not, are arrangements made for delivery?
Is there a beauty salon/barber shop on site? If not do
they offer the service at certain times?
Meals & Dining
Do the meals look appetizing?
Does the menu vary from day to day?
Are snacks available?
May residents request special foods?
May your family, friends join you for meals?
Can you eat in your apartment?
Is meal time set or can you eat when you wish?
Is there a common dining area?
Will the staff arrange for health care
or is up to you to arrange for your own?
If there are health services in place, can you purchase
it in increments?
Is there visiting physician available for residents that
have difficulty getting to a clinic?
Is there a 24 hour emergency response system?
Are additional services available if my needs change?
Is there a written plan of care for each resident?
Is a contractual agreement available that discloses healthcare,
supportive services, all fees, admission & discharge
What staff is available to assist residents who need memory
What procedures & equipment are in place for medical
Are nursing services available 24 hours/day?
Is there a nurse on-site 24 hours/day?
Is there an appeals process for residents that are dissatisfied?