Assisted Living

Evaluating Assisted Living Facilities: Four Key Considerations

Deciding whether assisted living is right for you or a loved one is no small task. The considerations surrounding a move to assisted living are extensive, and the choices and tradeoffs to be made can be overwhelming. The very first step in the process is to evaluate what kinds of services you need today and to consider what level of care you may need in the future. Some facilities may be able to meet both needs, while others may not.

The best way to assess a facility is to visit. Spend some time before meeting with a representative to observe the community independently if you can—do residents seem engaged and active? Are staff members friendly? Are shared spaces clean and inviting?

Listed below are some key questions to help guide your research.



  • What is the nonadministrative staff-to-resident ratio?
  • What educational and training requirements must employees have for their respective roles?
  • How are employees screened and vetted?


  • What types (e.g., athletic, artistic, volunteer) and how many activities does the facility offer residents? What is the overall participation rate in these activities?
  • Is there a resident governance board and if so, how influential is it?
  • What efforts are made to foster deep, lasting rapports between residents?
  • Are pets allowed and if not, can they visit? What are the daytime/overnight visiting policies?
  • How flexible is the kitchen—will they accommodate special requests for residents and visitors?


  • What services are/are not included in the facility’s base rate?
  • When, and by how much, may costs increase over time?
  • What has been the annual rate of increase for the base rate over the last five years?
  • Are there any hidden fees or unexpected costs that may come as a surprise before or after an agreement is signed?


  • Are there security measures in place to protect residents against unwanted guests?
  • What protocols are in place for weather-related and other emergencies?
  • Does the facility’s state-filed accident/emergency records report raise any red flags?
  • What medical resources are onsite? Nearby?

This article was published as part of the LBA Fall Reflections & Observations.

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