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Evaluating Assisted Living Facilities


As you compare Assisted Living residences, we hope this checklist will assure you that the Assisted Living residence you choose will be one of the highest quality and will meet your needs.

What to Consider in Assessing an Assisted Living Residence as You Tour It:

__ 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 residence 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 house mates for your loved one?

__ Are staff appropriately dressed, personable and outgoing?

__ Are visits to the resident welcome at any time?

__ Is the community well-designed for residents' needs?

  • Is the floor plan easy to follow?
  • Are the 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 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 meet local and/or state licensing requirements?

As You Discuss Needs and Assessments, Contracts, Costs and Finances:

__ Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?

__ What is the procedure for assessing a potential resident's need for services and are those needs reassessed periodically?

__ Can a resident be discharged for refusing to comply with a care plan?

__ When may a contract be terminated and what are refund policies?

__ Are there any government, private or corporate programs available to help cover the cost of services to the resident?

__ 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?

__ What is the policy on insurance and personal property?

__ Is staff available to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs?

Food Service:

__ 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 the units?

__ May meals be provided at a time a resident would like or are there set times for meals?

As You Discuss Services:

__ Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) if needed? ADLs include:

  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Mobility
  • Hygiene and grooming
  • Bathing, toileting and incontinence
  • Using the telephone
  • Shopping
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping in unit
  • Transportation to doctor, hairdresser, etc.

As You Discuss Features of Individual Units:

__ Are different sizes and types of units available?

__ Are units for single and double occupancy available?

__ Do residents have their own lockable doors?

__ Is there a 24-hour emergency response systems accessible from the unit?

__ Are bathrooms private with handicapped modifications to accommodate wheelchairs?

__ Are residents able to bring their own furnishings for their unit and what may they bring?

__ Do all units have a telephone and cable TV and how is billing handled?

__ Is a kitchen area/unit provided with a refrigerator, sink and cooking element?

__ May residents keep food in their unit?

__ May residents smoke in their units? In public spaces?

Social & Recreational Activities:

__ 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 activities outside of the residence 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 resident's pets allowed in the residence? Who is responsible for their care?

__ Does the residence have its own pets?

Medication/Health Care:

__ What is the residence policy regarding storage of medication, assistance with medications, training and supervision of staff and record keeping?

__ Is self-administration of medication allowed?

__ Who coordinates home visits from a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, etc., if needed?

__ 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 procedure for responding to a resident's medical emergency?

* Posted with the permission of the Massachusetts Assisted Living Facilities Association (6)


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