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  What is Assisted Living?
  Choosing Assisted Living
  Benefits of Placement Services
  Seniors and Kids
  Checklist for a Visit
  When Is It Time for Assisted Living
  Costs of Assisted Living
  Veteran's Benefits
  Deciding on Assisted Living
  Caring For Aging Parents
  How To Know When It's Time For Assisted Living
  Not A Nursing Home



Checklist for Visiting an Assisted Living Facility

Before you visit an Assisted Living Facility, but sure to list your needs. The following checklist may be helpful.


Assisted living is an exciting option for seniors who need some help with activities of daily living yet want to retain as much independence and privacy as possible.

Meals, laundry and housekeep are standard as are a variety of activities and outings.

Assisted living facilities are licensed and regulated by individual states, which explains why there can be differences in terminolgy and services in different areas of the country.

Checklist for Visiting an Assisted Living Facility

How long has the facility been open?
Who is the owner?
Who is the contact person?
How accessible is the community for family and friends?
Is it close to your home or work?

Overall Feeling
What is the overall ambiance?
Do staff smile and greet you?
Does it appear clean and smell good?
Did you receive activity calendar, menus and a brochure to review?

Staff and Management
How long has the management worked in this community?
What is the personnel turnover ratio?
What training does the staff receive?
Are they willing to show you the last state inspection report?
Did you observe the staff interacting with residents?
What types of assistance is available for the residents?
What are the costs of extra services?
What is the emergency procedure in case of a fall or personal injury?
What is the emergency plan for a fire, earthquake or other disaster?

Costs and Policies
Which services are included in the monthly fee?
Which services incur an extra cost?
Is a security deposit required?
Is there an admission fee or Buy-in?
Is this private pay or Medicaid assisted?
Can residents bring their own belongings?
How residents charged for personal care?
What is the smoking policy?
What extra services are available on site?
What is the cost for medication management?
Can staff arrange for prescription medication order and delivery?
Can residents age-in-place, including hospice?

Safety and Security
Are common areas roomy and uncluttered?
What type of security system is in place?
Are there off-road walking areas?

What activities are scheduled for residents?
When are the activities scheduled?
Is there a beauty salon / barber on site?
Are there gardens for the residents to enjoy?
Are most of the residents men or women? Couples or single?
What is the average age?
What is the physical and mental status of the present population?
What fitness programs are included?
Are there activities planned for mental stimulation?
Are there church services on site?

Is transportation for medical and dental appointments included?
Are there shopping trips?
Are there trips to the bank?
Are there social outings for the residents?

Meals and Snacks
What are the specific meal times?
Does the staff check on a resident who misses a meal?
What happens if a resident is unable to come to the dining area?
Are there choices from a menu?
How often does the menu change?
Can you to sample the food?
Can you talk to other residents about the food services?

Is there sufficient room?
Is there adequate lighting?
How near or far is the apartment from common areas?
Are there apartments with patios?

What is available in the time span that you need it?
Is there a wait list?
What deposit will hold the apartment?


Learn as much as you can about all the senior housing options that are available in your area. Everything you read and each facility you visit will help you to get closer to determining your own need. There are adult family homes, retirement communities, board and care homes, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and other options. With all these options, and maybe because there are so many choices, it can be overwhelming. There's nothing wrong with getting help.

A few of the services offered by assisted living placement services are:
1) Determining if Assisted Living is Right for You
2) Determining the level of care needed
3) Locating the home or facility best suited to your needs
4) Helping you to negotiate the lowest possible price for you and your family
5) Helping you with finanacial planning so that your resources can be used wisely to cover the costs involved
6) Ensuring that the facility you choose is able to handle any special needs that you may have.

There are a number of placement agencies that will be more than happy to help you sort through the maze and make the best choice for your loved one. This is their field of expertise and they are happy to share the knowledge they've gathered with you. A few of our favorites are A Place For Mom, Elderlink, and Assisted Living. In Southern California and Southern Arizona, one of our favorites is Assisted Living Placements. Most referral agencies (also called placement agencies) will provide their services free of charge.