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Assessment List

Take a look at our assessment list to find out what things to look for and ask yourself when searching for an assisted living facility:


Quality of Care and Services:

  • Do residents appear well cared for?
  • Are residents up, clean, and dressed by 10 AM?
  • Are the residents well groomed (i.e. shaved, clean clothes, nails trimmed and hair done)?
  • Is there a written plan of care for each resident? How often is the care plan reviewed and changed? By whom?
  • Does the facility offer programs, and/or services which meet your particular care needs, e.g., dementia unit, etc.?
  • What is the system for distribution of medication? Who does it? What is their level of training?
  • Does the facility have access to doctors, hospitals, home health agencies and adult day health care services?
  • Does facility provide transportation to medical services? Charges?
  • Are there clear procedures for responding to medical emergencies?


Quality of Food:

  • Does the food appear and smell appealing? Are fresh ingredients used?
  • Do residents seem to be enjoying the food?
  • Are residents receiving the assistance needed in eating? Are meals served at appropriate temperatures?
  • Do menus offer choice? How often are menus changed? (Ask to see a copy of the week’s menu).
  • Can the facility meet special dietary needs? Ethnic preferences?
  • Are nutritious snacks available?
  • Is fresh drinking water available?
  • Can residents prepare meals in apartments?
  • Does the facility make provisions to serve residents in rooms? Costs?


Quality of Social Interaction:

  • Are residents interacting with staff and/or each other?
  • Are residents occupied in meaningful activities?
  • Does the facility have a planned activities program? Are activity calendars posted? On weekends?
  • Is there a designated staff that coordinates activities? Are activities individualized or only done in large groups?
  • Do volunteers and outside groups regularly visit the facility?
  • Are there planned trips outside the facility?
  • Is transportation provided for shopping and personal errands? Charges?
  • Are pets allowed? Does the facility have pets?
  • Are residents encouraged to bring in some of their own furnishings?
  • Are religious services offered at the facility?


Quality of Participation:

  • Are residents and family members involved in assessment and care planning?
  • Are residents and family members involved in roommate selection?
  • Do residents have an opportunity to provide input into menu and activity planning?
  • Are there procedures for responding to requests for information and complaints?
  • Is the Ombudsman Program’s poster and telephone number posted?
  • Does the facility have a residents’ council? Does the facility have a family council or support group?


Quality of Staff:

  • How long has the key staff been working at the facility, i.e., administrator and assistant administrator, activities coordinator, cook, and nurse consultant?
  • Has there been a recent turnover in key staff?
  • How many direct care staff are there for each shift?
  • What is the staff to resident ratio? What is the ratio on the night shift? Weekends?
  • What is the turnover rate among direct care staff?
  • Does the direct care staff understand and speak English?
  • What special training does staff receive in working with persons with dementia?
  • Do the administration and staff know the residents by name?
  • Does staff take time to talk with residents?
  • Do administration and staff interact with residents in a respectful way?
  • How long does it take for staff to respond to a resident’s request for help or to a call bell?
  • Does staff respect residents’ privacy by knocking on doors or announcing themselves before entering rooms?
  • Does the staff wear name badges?


Quality of Environment:

  • Is the overall décor pleasant and homelike?
  • Is the environment clean and odor free?
  • Is the facility quiet or noisy?
  • Is the temperature comfortable?
  • Does the building seem safe and free from dangerous hazards? Cluttered?
  • Are the residents’ rooms, hallways, and common area well lighted?
  • Are floors of non-skid material and are carpets firm to ease walking and to prevent falls?
  • Is the dining room pleasant and inviting?
  • Are common areas, bedrooms and bathrooms accessible to wheelchairs and walkers?
  • Are bathrooms conveniently located?
  • How many residents share a bathroom?
  • Do all bathrooms, showers and bathtubs have handgrips or rails?
  • Are call bells accessible to residents? By bed? In bathrooms?
  • Is there privacy in residents’ rooms, especially in shared rooms?
  • Is there any place to have a private conversation?
  • Are there a bedside table, reading light, chest of drawers and at least one comfortable chair for each resident?
  • Is there a locked drawer to store valuables? If not, does the facility make provisions to store valuables?
  • Is there adequate space for clothing and personal belongings in each room?
  • Does the facility have extra storage space for residents’ belongings?
  • Are there outside sitting and walking areas for residents? Are any covered to protect from sun or rain?
  • Is there a fenced yard? Locked? Are there enough fire and carbon monoxide detectors?
  • Is there a designated smoking area? Inside? Outside?
  • Is there a disaster plan posted? How often does the facility hold drills?



  • Is the facility close to family and friends who will be visiting most frequently?
  • Is the facility near public transportation?
  • Is the facility in an area where it would be safe to visit at night?
  • Is the facility convenient to the resident’s doctor? Home health agency?
  • Is the facility close to a hospital?
  • Are family and friends welcome at any time or are there strict visiting hours?



  • Does the facility have a good reputation in the community?
  • Will they give you a list of references?
  • Are the residents and/or family members willing to talk with you about the facility?
  • How did the administrator and staff treat you when showing you around?
  • Did they answer all your questions to your satisfaction?
  • Did they show you around the entire facility? Were any areas or sections not shown to you? Why?
  • Do you feel that the administrator and staff are people you can work with and communicate with honestly
  • How would you or your loved one fit in? Is this facility compatible with your lifestyle?
  • Can you imagine yourself or your loved one living here?
  • How did you feel when visiting the facility?



  • Are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) residents accepted?
  • Do the estimated monthly costs (including extra charges) compare favorably with other facilities?
  • Are there any upfront fees, i.e. assessment, community fees?
  • What services are included in the basic rate?
  • What is the cost for extra services or higher levels of care determined?
  • What are the costs for specialized services, i.e. dementia unit?
  • Do the estimated monthly costs (including extra charges) compare favorably with other facilities?
  • Are the costs and payment schedule clearly described in the admission agreement?
  • Are the total monthly charges affordable over time?
  • Will the facility give you a copy of the admission agreement to take home and study before making a final decision.
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