Consumer Checklist

Use this checklist when touring an Assisted Living community to help find the best fit.


  • Is the community attractive and homelike?
  • Do the staff member call residents by name and interact warmly with them?
  • Do residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable?
  • Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the community and staff?
  • Do the residents seem to be appropriate housemates for you or your loved one?

Physical Features

  • Is the community clean, free of odors and appropriately heated/cooled?
  • Does the community have fire sprinklers and clearly marked exits?
  • If the community provides dementia care, does it have a means of security if a resident wanders?
  • If desired, what furnishings are provided?
  • Do all units have a telephone and cable/satellite TV and how is billing handled?
  • Is a kitchen area/unit provided with a refrigerator, sink and cooking element?
  • May residents smoke in their units? In public spaces?

Contracts, Costs & Finances

  • Review the contractual agreement that discloses services, fees, as well as admission and discharge provisions.
  • What is included in the monthly fee? Ask for a written copy.
  • Is there a procedure to pay for additional services when the services are needed on a temporary basis?
  • What happens when a resident’s needs change?
  • Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
  • Under what circumstances might the fees change?
  • When may a contract be terminated and what is the refund policy?
  • Are there any government or corporate programs available to help cover the cost of services to the resident?

Medication & Health Care

  • What is the policy regarding medication storage and assistance with medication administration?
  • How many hours of medication training do staff receive?
  • Are staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or 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 needs?
  • 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 community?
  • Do the staff members treat each other in a professional manner?
  • Is a licensed nurse available on-site? If so, during what hours?
  • Is staff awake and available at night?

Social & Recreational Activities

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

Food Service

  • May meals be provided at a time a resident would like or are there set times for meals?
  • Are menus reviewed by a nutritionist?
  • May a resident request special foods?
  • May residents eat meals in their units?

Make Sure You…

  • Know what the service package includes
  • Know all costs associated with your service package
  • Know about additional services and their associated fees
  • Know the circumstances under which fees might change
  • Understand the admission agreement
  • Understand resident rights and responsibilities
  • Understand the services planning process
  • Know about the criteria and policies associated with leaving the community
  • Contact the state licensing entity ( for information on the community’s license

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