You’ve decided that an assisted living residence is the right choice for you or someone you care for. This checklist will help you choose the right residence to meet your needs. Make a copy of this checklist for each of the residences you’re considering. It may make comparing them a little easier.
Once you have a list of residences to visit, call each one. Think about what is important for you and your loved one: location, size, and types of services offered. Bear in mind that the person you speak with will most likely be a marketing or sales representative whose job is to promote the residence.
Take this checklist with you as you compare different assisted living residences.
The Call Checklist:
- How many living units are in the residence?
- Where is the residence located?
- Are different sizes and types of units available?
- Do any units have kitchens or kitchenettes?
- Are all the rooms private?
- Are bathrooms private?
- Does the residence offer special care units such as those serving people with Alzheimer’s disease?
- Is a contract available that details fees, services, and admission and discharge policies?
- Is there a written care plan for each resident?
- What role does the resident have in developing the care plan? Are additional services available on the same campus if a resident's needs change?
- Can residents choose their own doctors, therapists, or pharmacies?
- How does the residence bill for services?
- What if a resident runs out of money?
- Under what conditions would a resident have to leave the residence?
This will help you compare residences. It’s a real challenge to choose a quality assisted living residence. Remember that it can be expensive and a long-term decision. If you’re searching out a unit for yourself, try not to make the visits and decisions alone. Talk with family members and friends. Learn as much as you can about assisted living and each of the residences you are considering. This will build the confidence and comfort level you’ll need to make the best choice.
Take along your checklist and some written questions for the staff when you visit. As you meet with them and tour a residence, pay close attention to how you feel and what is going on around you. Spend time with the staff and residents; ask them what they like and dislike about the place. It’s a good idea to visit more than once; an unscheduled visit on a weekend or in the evening might be very helpful in your decision making.
The Visit Checklist:
- Is the residence clean?
- Is the residence cheerful?
- Do you feel good about it?
- Are stairs and hallways well lit?
- Are exits well marked?
- Do rooms and bathrooms have handrails and call buttons?
- Are there safety locks on the doors and windows?
- Are there security and fire safety systems?
- Is there an emergency generator or alternate power source?
- Is the floor plan logical and easy to follow?
- Are rooms large enough for a residents’ needs?
- Are there kitchens or kitchenettes?
- Are there enough common areas, such as dens and living rooms?
- What special services are available?
- Is the contract easy to read?
- Do you understand everything in it?
- Are specific services provided by the residence?
- Does the contract include all of the services you are looking for?
- How frequently are services provided?
- What do additional services cost?
- Are health care services included? Which ones?
- When and where are meals served?
- Are all meals served 7 days a week?
- Does the contract address levels of care? How many levels? Who determines level of care? Are there services for each level?
- Are linens/laundry provided?
- Are transportation services provided?
- Is there a parking fee for residents? For visitors?
- Does the residence offer worship services?
- Is transportation to worship services provided?
- What are the entrance fee(s)?
- What is the monthly rent?
- What is the security deposit? Are deposits refundable?
- Are utilities included? Which ones? Is telephone included?
- How are rate increases or late payments handled?
- Does the contract cover transfer and discharge policies?
- Who makes a transfer or discharge decision?
- How much notice is given to residents who have to leave?
- Is the living area held if the resident is in the hospital? For what cost?
- Can you have a pet?
- Can you have personal furniture?
- Does the contract deny your right to bring legal action against the residence for injury, negligence, or other cause?
- Can personal visitors come and go at will?