Is an Assisted Living right for you or your loved one?

A consumer checklist of Important Services, Amenities and Accommodations in Assisted Living Communities.

Print out this guide and bring it with you as you tour a community.

Click here for a printable checklist and questions to ask!

What to look for when visiting Assisted Living

Use the following checklist to heighten your awareness of what to look for as you assess various communities. If possible, both the family and the older person should be involved in the decision-making process. The more an older person participates in the planning process, the better he or she will be able to adjust to the new environment.


Yes No N/A
As you arrive at the community, do you like the locations outward appearance?
As you enter the lobby and tour the residence is the d├ęcor attractive and home-like?
Does the Executive Director/Staff call residents by name and interact warmly with them as you tour?
Are there pets around the community for residents to enjoy?
Are copies of recent government surveys posted in the lobby?
Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the residence and staff?
Do their residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable?
Do the staff members treat each other in a professional manner? Do they dress appropriately?
Do the residents seem to be appropriate housemates for you or your loves one?
Is the center a smoke-free or smoke restricted environment?
Does the Community appear clean, airy and free of unpleasant odors?
Are there areas for the residents to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is good?
Are visits with the residents welcome at any time?

Apartment/Physical Features

Yes No N/A
Is the floor plan easy to follow?
Do all units have telephone and cable TV and how is billing handled?
Does each resident have a closet and personal storage space?
Can residents bring their own personal items or furniture?
Do the bathrooms have grab bars and an emergency call system?
Does the center allow residents to choose their roommates if sharing an apartment?
Is the community well designed for residents’ needs?
Are elevators available for those unable to use stairways?
Are different size and types of units available?
Is the residence clean, free of odors and appropriately heated/cooled?
Are units available for single and double occupancy?
Is a 24 hour emergency response system available accessible from the unit?
Is a kitchen area provided with a refrigerator, sink and cooking element?

Security and Safety

Yes No N/A
Are the entrances controlled and are visitors asked to check in at the reception desk?
Are there handrails along the walls?
Are the hallways and doorways wide enough to avoid accidents and allow wheelchairs to pass?
In case of fire, can the facility be easily evacuated?
Are fire extinguishers easy to locate?
Are smoke detectors, extinguisher, and sprinklers in place?
Are floors of non-skid material and carpets firm to ease walking?
Does the community have a means of security if a resident wanders?

Activities and Environment

Yes No N/A
Are activities calendars posted?
Do activities cover a range of interests and abilities?
Does the community have an active resident and family council?
Are there opportunities for spiritual activities?
Is there evidence of an organized activities program, such as a posted daily schedule, events in progress, reading material, visitors etc.?
Is there a welcoming program in place to help residents adjust to living at the center?
Does the activities director have special training for this position?
Do most of the people at an activity program seem to be participating?
Do residents participate in activities outside of the residence in the neighboring community?

Meals and Dietary Services

Yes No N/A
Is the food hot, attractive, and tasty?
Are special diets available? What kinds?
Does a resident have plenty of drinking water easily available?
Do residents have menu choices?
Are the menus posted?
Are the dining room tables easily accessible by wheelchairs?
Are the residents who need assistance with meals provided help?
Is there a trained dietician on staff?
Are there snacks and beverages available between meals?
Are there water pitchers and glasses on residents’ tables?
Does the community provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day, seven days a week?
May residents eat meals in their units – if so, is there a fee?

Contracts, Services and Finances

Yes No N/A
Is the facility in good standing with the state inspectors?
Are fees competitive?
What’s involved with the move in/out process?
Is there a written statement available of the residents’ rights and responsibilities?
Is a contractual agreement available that clearly discloses healthcare, accommodations, personal care, supportive services, all fees, as well as admission and discharge provisions?
How much is the monthly fee? How often can it be increased and for what reasons? Is there a limit on the amount of increase per year? What is the history on increases?
Are residents required to purchase renters’ insurance for personal property in their apartment?
Do billing, payment and credit policies seem fair and reasonable?
When may the contract be terminated and what are the policies for refunds and transfers?
Is there an appeals process for dissatisfied residents?
Is there any government, private or corporate programs available to help cover the costs?
What additional services are available if the resident needs change? Is staff available to coordinate these services?
What services are extra?
Do they have the Medicare Waiver program?
Are therapeutic services available? (Speech, physical and occupational)
Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s) if needed? ADL’s include: Dressing; Eating; Mobility; Hygiene and grooming; Bathing, toileting and incontinence; Using the telephone; Shopping; and Laundry
Are billing and accounting procedures understandable and acceptable?
Is transportation of residents provided? Is there a fee?
Does the community provide housekeeping services in residents’ units?
Do they provide transportation to doctors’ offices and other activities desired by residents? If so, how often? Is there a fee?
Can residents arrange for transportation on fairly short notice?
Are pharmacy, barber/beautician and/or physical therapy services offered on-site? What is the fee schedule?
Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?

Medication and Health

Yes No N/A
Does the residence have specific policies regarding storage of medication, assistance with medications, training and supervision of staff and record keeping?
Is self-administration of medication allowed?
Is staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or judgement losses?
Does a physician or nurse visit the resident regularly to provide medical checkups?
Does the community have a clearly stated procedure for responding to a medical emergency?


Yes No N/A
Did members of the staff smile and make eye contact with you?
Does the staff address residents by their names and interact with them during your tour?
Were you able to meet the top manager of the community or any of the management team?
Do staff members display a genuine commitment to residents and to their work?
Have staff members been with the community for a long period of time (if applicable)?
Do you feel a sense of hospitality and compassion throughout the community?
Did the staff person who accompanied you seem to have what’s best for you in mind rather than their own interests?

Your Prospective Neighbors

Yes No N/A
Are the residents friendly and outgoing?
Did you see plenty of activity (participation in programs and events, etc.) during your visit?
Were residents willing to talk and share their perspectives with you?
Do the residents seem to be people with interests similar to yours?


Yes No N/A
Will this community “feel” like home?
Do you get a strong sense of quality and attention to detail throughout the community?
Do you believe you would be happy living in this community?
Is there a waiting list? If so how long do they estimate it will be for a unit will become available?
What percentage of units have been rented and occupied?

Licensure and Certifications

Yes No N/A
What reputation does the facility have in the community? How long has it been in business? Is it in good financial health?
If the state requires the residence to be licensed, does it have a current license displayed?
How was the last state survey?

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