Asset Publisher

Choosing an Assisted Living Facility


Do you need help with the activities of daily living such as bathing, cooking meals and cleaning the house, but are looking to remain independent as possible? If so, assisted living may be right for you. Assisted living facilities can provide round the clock care and support. A good facility will put together a plan that marries the best of independent living with supportive personal care services.

Assisted living facilities are residential, and can generally be arranged as converted homes, condominiums or apartments. Some offer apartment style living, while others provide individual rooms. In most cases, there are common eating areas, exercise facilities, pharmacies and other amenities. Services typically include: 

  • Housekeeping 
  • Laundry
  • Transportation
  • Security
  • Emergency call systems. 

Each state has its own licensing requirements for these facilities, so be sure to check with your state to see what services can and should be provided.
If you need help making an informed decision about what kind of assisted living facility best fits your needs, consider the following tips:

1.    Observe the facility’s environment

When choosing anew home, take the time to observe and get to know the residents and staff at each individual facility. Their interactions can say more about the facility than a mere list of amenities and services. Watch to see if the residents appear to be happy. Are they interacting with each other, and do they seem like people that you would like to get to know? 
You may also want to watch the staff as they interact with the current residents. Do they appear interested in the needs of the residents, or do they appear rushed? You can judge whether you think they are positive and courteous to the residents and treat them in the way you would want to be treated.

2.    Learn more about the staff’s qualifications

Do not be afraid to ask the facility’s administrator for their credentials and licensure to verify that they are up to date, and request that they give you information about the rest of their staff as well. This will help you see what kinds of training and qualifications are necessary for the different types of staff. Another question to ask is if the facility uses professional nursing services on site, or if they use a home health agency. You should also ask if the facility has physical or occupational therapists on staff, or partners with any agencies for these services. 

3.    Explore amenities, services and activities

The amenities, services and activities offered by facilities can vary greatly, so it may be a good idea to consider which options are most important to you. If access to healthy, good quality food is a high priority, you can request to view the dining area, ask for a copy of one of the daily menus or question the staff if they will be able to accommodate any special dietary needs you may have. If staying active is important to you, ask to view the current activity calendar to find out the different social, recreational or spiritual activities that are available.

4.    Investigate the surrounding area

Consider the facility’s location. Will it require you to move to a new area? Is it easily accessible? Will your family members be able to visit without difficulty? Is it close to your doctor and hospital, or shopping and entertainment centers like supermarkets, banks, libraries or clothing stores? If a facility you are interested in would require you to move to a new area, take time to explore the surrounding neighborhoods and familiarize yourself with the local environment to make sure it is a good fit for you before committing to a decision.

5.    Consider budget and financial situation

To help you make your decision, learn the costs and fees of living in each facility you visit. What is included in the basic monthly cost? Are there fees for extra services? Would these fees ever be subject to change? Find out about security deposits and refund policies, along with whether the agreements and contracts can be modified.

There are many things to consider when deciding on an assisted living facility, but keep in mind that finding a comfortable environment which suits your individual needs best should factor in as a high priority. The facility you choose will be your new home, and the happiest home is the one that feels most comforting and welcoming to you.

A version of this article appeared in the Private Health News.

Related Assets

Suggested Reads

Pet Friendly Senior Living: What Questions Should I Ask?

Reducing the Stress of a Transition to Assisted Living

Secondary Caregiving: Providing Care to a Loved One in Assisted Living

Weighing the Costs of Living Options as an Older Adult