As you assess assisted living residences, you will likely visit a number of communities. To help you determine the one that’s right for you or your loved one, consider the following questions to evaluate each residence based on your needs.

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Atmosphere

  • Do you like its location and outward appearance?
  • Is the decor attractive and homelike?
  • Do you receive a warm greeting from staff welcoming you to the residence?
  • Does the staff call residents by name and interact warmly with them?
  • Do residents appear happy and comfortable?
  • Are staff members 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?

 

Physical Features

  • Are floors of a non-skid material and carpets firm to ease walking?
  • Does the residence have good natural and artificial lighting?
  • Is the residence clean, free of odors, and appropriately heated/cooled?
  • Does the residence have sprinklers and clearly marked exits?
  • Does the residence have a means of security if a resident wanders?

 

Needs Assessments, Contracts, Costs & Finances

  • Is a contractual agreement available that discloses health-care and supportive services, all fees, as well as admission and discharge provisions? What are the policies for refunds and transfers?
  • Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
  • Does the residence have a process for assessing a potential resident’s need for services and are those needs addressed periodically?
  • Are additional services available if the resident’s needs change?
  • Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
  • Are residents required to purchase renters’ insurance for personal property in their units?

 

Medication & Health Care

  • Does the residence have specific policies regarding storage of medication, assistance with
  • medications, training and supervision of staff, and record keeping?
  • Is there a staff person to coordinate home health care visits from a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, etc. if needed?
  • Is staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or judgment losses?
  • Does the residence have a clearly stated procedure for responding to a resident’s medical emergency?
  • Does a physician or nurse visit residents regularly to provide medical checkups?
  • To what extent are medical services available, and how are these services provided?

 

Services

  • Is staff available to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs?
  • Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) if needed?
  • Does the residence provide housekeeping services?
  • Can residents arrange for transportation on fairly short notice?
  • Are pharmacy, barber/beautician, and/or physical therapy services offered?

 

Social & Recreational Activities

  • Is there evidence of organized activities, such as a posted daily schedule, events in progress, reading materials, visitors, etc.?
  • Do volunteers, including family members, come into the residence to help with or to conduct programs?
  • Does the residence create a sense of community by encouraging residents to participate in activities

 

Food Service

  • Do menus vary from day to day and meal to meal?
  • Does the residence provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day, seven days a week?
  • Are snacks available?
  • May a resident request special foods, and can the residence accommodate special dietary needs?
  • May residents eat meals in their units?
  • May meals be provided at a time a resident would like, or are there set times for meals?