Selecting an assisted living facility or nursing home is a critical decision in the care of a senior, but it is often made in haste. Although some seniors come to an assisted living facility from a nursing home or independent living facility, it is very common to need assisted living after a senior leaves the hospital from a stroke, heart attack, fall or other health issue. Because of this fact, many people do not have a lot of time to select an assisted living facility, so here are some quick tips. Most people search for assisted living facilities near their family and friends. It is very helpful for seniors to have someone who can visit at the assisted living facility. For this reason assisted living facilities have popped up in both small and large communities across the country. You can begin your search by gathering a list of all the assisted living facilities near your home on this website.

  • Make an assessment of the senior's mental, physical and lifestyle needs and pick an appropriate type of facility.
  • Use our advanced search to gather a list of facilities in your desired area.
  • Visited as many facilities as possible, and ask a lot of questions
  • Narrow your selection to two or three facilities, and get more details using the questionnaire below.
  • Get a copy of the residential agreement contract.
  • Review the assisted living's licensing and certification inspection reports on the state Web site
  • Discuss your decision with friends and family, and then make the move.
  • Make sure to talk to residents and staff about the quality of life at the facility. Here are some questions to ask.
Financial Issues
  • What services are included in the monthly fee?
  • What additional services are available and how much do they cost?
  • How much is the deposit, and is any portion of it refundable?
  • What is the expected annual increase in fees, and what was the recent increase?
  • How often does the fee structure change?
  • Can I put my contract on hold if I am away from the facility for health reasons?
  • What happens if I run out of money?
  • Are any discounts available?
  • How often does housekeeping clean?
  • Does the assisted living facility have a personal laundry?
  • Should I have renter's insurance?
  • Are pets allowed in the facility?
  • How many meals are included in the basic fee? Can a senior regularly skip meals?
  • Are alternative meal options offered?
  • Does the assisted living facility accommodate seniors with special diets?
  • Does a dietitian or nutritionist review the meal plans?
  • Are meals available outside of the standard hours?
  • Can seniors have meals delivered to their room?
  • Is an activity calendar available every month?
  • Are the activities appropriate based on a senior's health level?
  • Is there a full-time activities director?
  • Are the activities meaningful and interesting?
  • How many staff members are in the facility, and what are their credentials?
  • What is the turnover rate of the staff?
  • Does all the staff speak the senior's native language?
  • Is the staff available 24 hours per day?
  • Can seniors use their own pharmacy?
  • Can seniors take their own medications?
  • Does a trained nurse dispense all medications?
  • Does the facility have a sprinkler system?
  • Does the staff do a daily room check?
  • Are there grab bars for the toilet and shower?
  • Are background checks done on all staff members?
  • Are all the exits clearly marked and easily accessible (based on the condition of the senior)?
  • What kind of emergency staff is available at the facility?
  • How are family members notified of an emergency?
  • What emergency systems are in place for weekends and after hours?
Discharge From The Facility
  • What is the facility's policy on discharge or termination of the contract?
  • Does the state regulate discharges?
  • Is there an appeals process?
  • What is the advance notice on a discharge?

This is only a sampling of questions that you may want to ask before placing a deposit with an assisted living facility. Make sure to address any special needs before you sign a contract with the assisted living facility, to avoid any problems and potential financial implications.