Best For My Parents | What to Look for When Selecting an Assisted Living Facility

What to Look for When Selecting an Assisted Living Facility

What to Look for When Selecting an Assisted Living Facility

Choosing an assisted living facility or senior community—either for yourself or for your loved one-is not a decision to be made lightly. You want to ensure that the facility offers the amenities and services that are most important to you, and that the level of care meets your expectations. Not every facility is going to be right for every individual. However, the following guide should help you when making this important decision.

Contracts and Billing

First, you’ll want to speak to someone regarding the contract and how services are billed. Ask to see a copy of the contract so that you can carefully examine all the rules, regulations, and fees. You should also ask for a list of extra-cost services and their prices, so you can get an idea of what is available to you. You should also discuss whether or not the facility accepts any financial assistance programs you may be hoping to use to cover the expenses, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or VA Aid and Assistance.

While this may not be the most enjoyable parts of searching for a senior care facility, it is one of the most important. You will want to ensure that there are no surprises regarding the contract or the billing, and that you can cover all of the expenses each month.

Medical Assistance

Many residents in senior care facilities require occasional medical care. It’s important that you’re aware of the type of medical care available at the facility. Does the staff help with daily administration of medicine and other types of regular care? What if you need a higher level of care? Are you able to continue seeing your current physician if you wish to? What happens if you have an extended hospital stay; will they hold your residence?

Even if you don’t need regular medical care now, be sure that you ask these types of questions so that you know what to expect should the need for them arise.

Rooms and Facilities

You should take a tour of any care facility that you are seriously considering using, and take a close look at their resident rooms and their facilities. On your tour, be on the lookout for the following things:

-Are the grounds well maintained?
-Are there a lot of stains or foul odors throughout the facility? A localized smell could be connected to a recent accident, but if there is a bad smell throughout a larger area, this could be a sign of a bigger problem.
-Are there sufficient safety measures in place for residents? You should look for grab bars throughout the facility, ramps anywhere that there are stairs, safety locks on windows and doors, emergency call buttons, and so on.
-Do the residents seem happy, friendly, and well cared for? Feel free to speak to residents and ask them how they feel about the facility and the staff. Observe some facility activities, and see how actively the residents participate in them.

Seeing the facility in person is absolutely vital to determining if it is the right location for you or your loved one, so don’t skip this step.

Staff Members

While on a tour, you should also observe and ask questions about the staff. Get an idea of their average experience level and their qualifications. How many certified nurses are on staff? How long do most staff members stay at the facility? Observe how staff members interact with residents, to ensure they are attentive and friendly.


Finally, ask questions about what types of amenities are available at the facility. Every facility will have different types of activities, services, and amenities for its residents, and there are no right or wrong ones out there. Make a checklist of which amenities are most important to you—ones that a facility absolutely must have—as well as some that you might like for the facility to have, but aren’t a necessity for you. This can be a handy guide as you choose which facility is right for you.

For example, if you have a beloved pet you cannot part with, you might list “pet friendly” as a necessary amenity for your assisted living facility. You might also like to bring your own furniture along, but are willing to part with it if necessary; in that case, you would list this as a “want” but not a necessity.

If you need help narrowing down the list of potential senior communities and assisted living homes, contact us. We’ll help match you with a facility that meets all of your requirements, and ease some of the stress that can come with this task.