Assisted Living Checklist

Assisted Living : Assisted Living Checklist

Helping a parent or loved one - or yourself - move into an assisted living facility is one of the most challenging jobs anywhere. There are so many kinds of facilities, so many choices, and so many personal considerations to weigh that the calculus that goes into a decision is very complicated. Here are some of the key things to keep in mind while choosing the best assisted living facility.

1.  Is the facility a good match for your condition? Choose a facility that doesn't offer enough care and you could be warehoused, asked to leave, or find yourself paying for extra care.  Too much care and you might be bored, or paying for more than you need.

2. Get an evaluation from your gerontologist before you choose. Make sure that your doctor agrees that the facility you choose is appropriate.



3. What services are you getting - and what will you have to pay extra for? This issue is a lot harder than most people think. When you visit the assisted living facility the sales sid of things tends to make you think just about everything is covered. But later you might discover that if your parent can't get to meals by himself, needs help in the night, or requires social stimulation - those service might be extra cost - and you might have to find a provider yourself.

4. Understand  what's in the residency agreement. A good agreement spells out everything - what is provided, what's not, what could cause them to ask your parent to leave. (See article series on this)

5. What kind of activities are offered?  The services provided in a facility can make the difference between boredom and happy, engaged residents.  An energetic activity person is a great resource. But to guard against unfulfilled promises, as to see some activities.  Are they working in practice?

6. Reports and staff to patient ratio. You can ask for all kinds of reports from the facility - from previous inspections to vital facts. Look for red flags. is the staff to patient ratio adequate compared to other facilities and the types of residents?

7. Have you done your reference checks and other due diligence?  Perhaps the single most important thing you can do is thorough due diligence. Interview staff and residents, including relatives of residents. Walk through facility at slow times to see what is happening. Act on your instincts - if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

8. Stay involved after the decision is made. Your participation in your parent's care is essential to success. You are the advocate. If the staff sees that you care and are involved (reasonably), you will get better service.


The National Center for Assisted Living has produced a wonderful short resource to help residents and their families with the transition to an assisted living facility:  A Guide for New Residents and Families.