Family checklist when touring assisted living communities

The following is a consumer checklist of important services, amenities and accommodations in Assisted Living communities. Every community is unique. We recommend making several visits, at various times of day, to each community you are considering. As you start your search, it is important to assess your needs as they are now and ask each provider how they might accommodate any changes over time.

Consider the following as you assess an Assisted Living community:


  • As you arrive at the residence, do you like its location and outward appearance?
  • As you enter the lobby and tour the residence, is the decor attractive and homelike?
  • Does the administrator/staff call residents by name and interact warmly with them as you tour the residence?
  • Do residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable?
  • Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the residence and staff?
  • Do the residents seem to be appropriate housemates for you or your loved one?

Physical Features

  • Is the floor plan easy to follow?
  • Does the residence have good natural and artificial lighting?
  • Is the residence clean, free of odors and appropriately heated/cooled?
  • Does the residence meet local and/or state licensing requirements?
  • Does the residence have sprinklers and clearly marked exits?
  • If the residence provides dementia care, does it have a means of security if a resident wanders?
  • Are residents able to bring their own furnishings for their unit and what may they bring? What is provided?
  • Do all units have a telephone and cable TV and how is billing handled?
  • Is a kitchen area/unit provided with a refrigerator, sink and cooking element?
  • May residents keep food in their units?
  • May residents smoke in their units? In public spaces?

Medication & Health Care

  • What is the policy regarding storage of medication, assistance with administration of medications, training and supervision of staff and record keeping?
  • Is self-administration of medication allowed?
  • Are staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, of judgment losses?
  • What is the procedure for responding to a resident’s medical emergency?
  • To what extent are medical services available, and how are these services provided?


  • Obtain a list of services available.
  • What is the community’s process for assessing a potential resident’s need for services?
  • Are additional services available if the resident’s needs change?
  • Are there special programs for memory impaired residents and those with dementia?
  • Are there fees to provide transportation to doctors’ offices, the hairdresser, shopping and other activities desired by residents?
  • Can residents arrange for transportation on fairly short notice?


  • What training and qualifications do the staff have?
  • Observe staff and resident interactions. Are they positive?
  • Did you receive a warm greeting from staff welcoming you to the residence?
  • Do the staff members treat each other in a professional manner?
  • Are the staff members that you pass during your tour friendly to you?

Social & Recreational Activities

  • What is the activities program?
  • Do residents participate in activities outside of the residence in the neighboring community?
  • Do volunteers, including family members, come into the residence to help with or conduct programs?
  • Are residents’ pets allowed in the residence? Who is responsible for their care?
  • Does the residence have its own pets?

Food Service

  • Does the residence provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day, seven days a week?
  • Are snacks available?
  • May a resident request special foods?
  • May residents eat meals in their units?
  • May meals be provided at a time a resident would like or are there set times for meals?

Categories: Memory Care

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