Checklist for Visiting Assisted Living Homes
Visiting an Assisted Living Home is an essential step in determining the best fit for seniors needing some level of assistance in order to maintain their current level of independence. The following checklist will help guide you through each visit and, afterward, allow you to compare the various options available in an organized manner.
Name of Assisted Living Home: __________________________________
Date of Visit: _____________
As you approach the Assisted Living Home:
- Is the primary entrance on a low-traffic street? This is an important factor if walking outdoors is a hobby.
- Is the community in good shape physically? Fresh paint, nice landscaping, clean sidewalks & patios?
- Are the doors easy to open and close for those with mobility issues?
As you enter the lobby:
- Are residents engaged in activity or sitting/sleeping in the lobby?
- Is the lobby inviting in terms of décor, smell and overall appearance?
- Are you welcomed by the receptionist and asked to sign in? This is often a good security measure!
- If you’re asked to wait, are you offered seating and coffee or water? How long did you wait for a tour?
During your tour of the Public Areas:
- How long are the hallways? If mobility is an issue, make sure there are benches along the way or apartments available near the elevator or public areas.
- Are there activities that you can observe during your tour? Is the activity well-attended and are residents engaged?
- Is there an activity calendar posted and accessible to residents? Consider the activities you or your loved one specifically enjoys. Are these available or can they be accommodated with transportation provided?
- Are a variety of options available at each meal? Diabetic options if applicable? Healthy options?
- Is there flexibility in meal times? How many meals are offered per day? Are you invited for a meal?
- Is seating assigned or open? Do new residents have an ‘ambassador’ or another resident to introduce them to others in the dining room & at activities?
During your tour of the apartments:
- Are there emergency cords or systems in place?
- Is the kitchenette well-suited to preparing meals if less than three meals are offered daily?
- Can the stove/burners be disabled if necessary?
- Is there plenty of closet space and storage available?
- Is there a walk-in shower or cut-out tub available?
- If medication management is needed, will the medications be administered in the apartment or the Assisted Living office? (Privacy vs. encouraged interaction outside of the apartment)
- If a pet will be moving in, are there patios or exterior doors nearby? Is pet care provided as an Assisted Living service?
Additional Considerations to Keep in Mind:
- Smaller apartments are often better, particularly if mobility is an issue. Consider the entire Assisted Living Home as a new home because social interaction will be an important component of this lifestyle!
- During a tour, pay particular attention to whether the Marketing Director and/or other employees interact with and refer to residents by name regularly.
- Schedule another visit on a weekend or during the evening when the management team is not on-site. Are residents engaged? Chat with current residents and their family members if possible. Residents are a great source of honest information!
- If you’re visiting on behalf of a family member or friend, keep in mind that your likes/dislikes may be very different. It’s important for seniors to tour one or two communities that you’ve determined are the best choices.
Written by gerontologist Sara Shelton.