How to Compare Assisted Living Facilities
Deciding the right place to live can be a tedious process that requires a great deal of research. Choosing the right assisted living community is no different. In reality, choosing assisted living may be even more complex because, in addition to common amenities, you also have to consider researching the staff, programs, and services. Although this site offers a number of articles to help, such as “Assisted Living FAQs”, it is a good idea to bring a checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything as you tour and compare facilities.
Below is a form that can easily be used as you tour each facility. Each list should have its own page with the name and date of your visit listed at the top; it can also be helpful to make notes in each section to remind you of smaller, easily forgotten details. Touring during an active time, such as lunch or a community event, is recommended to get a good idea of staff interaction and overall happiness of the residents. During the tour, pay attention to the overall cleanliness of the facility: look for dirty floors or walls, listen to the noise level, smell each area, and ask about maintenance and housekeeping.
Date of Visit: ______________
Name of Facility: _______________________________________________________________________________
Contact Info: __________________________________________________________________________________
- Outside the facility
___ Location: traffic, proximity to family or busy streets, etc.
___ First Impression: well-maintained (paint, landscaping, sidewalks, windows, etc.), mobility-friendly (ramps, sidewalk flaws, railing, stairs, etc.).
___ Outside Security: doors easy to open but secure, surveillance, security patrol, etc.
___ Appearance: welcoming décor and friendly staff, smell, check-in process.
___ Visiting Process: specific visiting hours, waiting area, drinks for guests, etc.
___ Lobby staff: friendly, polite greeting, attentive, knowledgeable/helpful, etc.
- Common Areas
___ Hallways: length, railing, ramps, stairs, location to other rooms, elevators, benches, etc.
___ Furniture: comfortable, clean, up-to-date, lots of residents in area, etc.
___ Floors: clean, even, fall prevention measures, short distances between areas, etc.
___ Additional rooms: television room, library, gym, pool, computer room, etc.
- Rooms/ Apartments
___ Emergency measures: bedroom/bathroom emergency alerts, average response times,
___ Room Floorplan: closet space, in-room furniture, storage options
___ Bathroom: tub/shower, handrails, emergency alert, etc.
___ Different room sizes: floor plan cost comparison, shared vs private, windows, etc.
___ Personal Items: list of items that are allowed and prohibited, storage, shelving, closet/wardrobe, etc.
- Activities, Services, and Programs
___ Meal options: healthy choices, choices for medical conditions, flexible eating schedule, visitor meals, seating plans, kitchenettes available, etc.
___ Medication management: frequency, cost, storage, etc.
___Observe an activity or ask for a community event schedule: bingo nights, movies nights, cookouts, birthday parties, etc.
___Options for outside entertainment: transportation to movies, dinner, shopping, etc.
___ Options for hobbies: library, movie libraries, book clubs, knitting circles, yoga, etc.
___ Personal care services: beauty/barber services, laundry, bedding, spa, etc.
___ Services at additional cost
___ Pet-friendly: allows personal pets, animal-assisted therapy, community pet, pet care services, fenced outside area, etc.
___ Residents: age, happiness, medical accommodations, welcome person, etc.
___ Licenses and regulations: licenses posted, inspections reports, complaint reports, complaint process, evacuation procedures/routes, fire drills, etc.
___ Transportation services: recreational transportation, transportation to medical services, errands, etc.
___Needed additional services: memory care, rehabilitation, physical therapy, etc.
Staff interaction, dining experience, general aesthetics, and room comfort are considered some of the most important factors for seniors. Choosing a place that is safe and comfortable can increase longevity and enhance the lives of everyone involved. Finally, as you check off your criteria and ask all of the necessary questions, imagine yourself actually living there. Imagine trying to relax or make friends, image interacting with the staff or solving a personal care problem. As you imagine day-to-day life, imagine waking up and going to bed, then make sure to choose the place that feels the most right!
About the Author: Victoria K. Stickley is a copywriter, editor, and senior content manager based in the Dallas area. Her graduate education in counseling and research has helped immensely in her writing as well as the care she provides for her grandparents. She currently provides support and resources to senior care websites as she learns and experiences senior care first-hand.