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Seniors For Living
 
Assisted Living Checklist
Print copies of this checklist to help you evaluate each assisted living community you're considering.
 
Personal Care Needs
Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
Does the initial needs assessment include the resident, family, and facility staff, along with a physician?
Is there an ongoing process for assessing a resident's need for services? How often are those needs evaluated?
How does the facility accommodate residents with changing needs?
Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)?
Does the residence have programs for Alzheimer's, dementia, and other special needs?
How often does a staff member check on a resident's whereabouts and well-being?
If a resident's behavior changes and becomes verbally or physically abusive, what is the facility's course of action?
   
Health Care Needs
Does a physician/nurse make regular checkups? To what extent is medical care available?
Will the staff set up medical appointments and transportation for each resident?
Does the residence's pharmacy provide delivery, consultation, and review of medicines?
Does staff supervise/assist residents in taking medicine? May residents take their own medications?
What health care services are available at the facility? Physical therapy? Wound care? Hospice care? Social services?
Does the residence have a clearly stated procedure for responding to medical emergencies? Is there an arrangement with a nearby hospital?
Under what circumstances does the facility call the family, or the resident's doctor?
 
Resident Services
What resident services are available onsite?
Are housekeeping, linen service, and personal laundry included in the fees, or are they available at an additional charge? Are on-site laundry facilities available and convenient?
Does the residence provide transportation to doctors' offices, the hairdresser, shopping, and other activities, and can it be arranged on short notice?
 
Location
Do you like the facility's outward appearance?
Is the facility convenient for frequent visits by family and friends?
Is the facility near shopping centers and other entertainment?
Can the resident access a medical complex easily?
Is public transportation available and accessible?
 
Living Environment
Is the decor attractive and homey?
Is the floor plan well designed and easy to follow?
Are doorways, hallways, and rooms accommodating to wheelchairs and walkers?
Are elevators available for those unable to use stairways?
Are hand rails available to aid in walking?
Are floor coverings made of a nonskid material?
Is the residence clean, free of odors, and appropriately heated/cooled?
Does the residence have good lighting, sprinklers, and clearly marked exits?
What is the facility's means of security if a resident wanders?
Is there an emergency evacuation plan?
Does the facility hold fire drills?
 
Accommodations
How many living units are in the facility?
Are there different sizes and types of units available with optional floor plans?
Are units for single and double occupancy available?
What percentage of the apartments has been rented and is occupied?
Is there a waiting list? If so, how long will it take to be admitted?
Does the residence have furnished/unfurnished rooms?
May residents decorate their own rooms? Is there adequate storage space?
Is a 24-hour emergency response system accessible from the unit?
Are bathrooms private with handicapped accommodations for wheelchairs and walkers?
Do all units have a telephone and cable TV, and how is billing handled?
Does each kitchen unit have a refrigerator, sink, and cooking element?
May residents smoke in their units? Are there designated public areas for smoking?
 
Meals
Does the residence provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day, seven days a week? How does the menu vary?
Does a qualified dietitian plan or approve menus? Is residents' weight routinely monitored?
Are residents involved in menu planning, and may they request special foods?
Are common dining areas available?
Are meals provided only at set times or is there some flexibility? Are snacks available?
How many meals are included in the fee? If a resident becomes ill, is tray service available?
Can residents have guests dine with them for an additional fee? Is there a private dining room for special events and occasions?
Can residents eat meals in their units?
 
Social and Recreational Activities
What kinds of recreational activities are offered?
Is there an organized activities program with a posted daily schedule of events?
Do volunteers and family members come into the residence to participate in or conduct programs?
Does the facility schedule trips or go to other events off premises?
Are there supplies for social activities/hobbies (games, cards, crafts, computers, gardening)?
Are religious services held on the premises or are arrangements made for nearby services?
Are there fitness facilities as well as regularly scheduled exercise classes?
Does the residence create a sense of community by allowing residents to participate in certain activities together or perform simple chores for the group as a whole?
Are pets allowed in the residence? Who is responsible for their care?
 
Other Residents
Do residents socialize with each other and appear comfortable and content?
Do the residents seem to be appropriate housemates for the prospective resident?
Are visits with residents welcome at any time?
 
Staff
What are the hiring procedures and requirements for staff eligibility? Are criminal background checks, references, and certifications required?
Is there a staff training program in place, and what does it entail?
Is the administrator available to answer questions or discuss problems, and would you be comfortable dealing with him/her on a daily basis?
What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
How long are staff shifts?
Is the staff courteous to residents and to each other?
How does the staff respond to your questions?
Is the staff trained to deal with aggressive residents? Wanderers?
 
Licensure and Certification
Does the residence have a current license/certification?
Does the administrator have a current license/certification?
Is the facility a member of a trade or professional association?
What reputation does the facility have in the community? How long has it been in business? Is it in good financial health? Does the facility follow generally accepted accounting procedures?
If the facility is sponsored by a nonprofit organization and managed under contract with a commercial firm, what are the conditions of that contract?
Is there a resident council or organization through which residents/family have a means of voicing their views on the management of the community?
 
Contract and Costs
Is a contractual agreement available that clearly discloses health care, accommodations, personal care and supportive services, all fees, and admission and discharge provisions?
May a resident handle his/her own finances, or must a family member or outside party be designated?
What is the payment schedule?
Do residents own or rent their unit? Are residents required to purchase renters' insurance for personal property in their units?
What is the monthly fee? How often can it be increased and for what reasons? What is the history on monthly fee increases?
What are the specific costs for various levels of services?
Is there a procedure to pay for temporary services such as skilled nursing care and physical therapy?
Will a resident's room be held should he/she require a hospital/nursing home stay, and are there charges for the room while vacant?
When may a contract be terminated, and what are the policies for refunds and transfers?
Is there an appeals process for dissatisfied residents?
What happens if funds are depleted and full payments can no longer be made?
Are there any government, private, or corporate programs available to help cover costs?
Do billing, payment, and credit policies seem fair and reasonable?