Tips for Choosing an Assisted Living Home
Choosing an assisted living home is an important decision not only for you
but also your family. Only you or your family can decide if an assisted
living home is right for you. There are steps you can take to find the home
that is best for you. Planning ahead is important. Planning ahead will help
you decide which assisted home choice meets your needs and gives you good
quality care. Finding the right assisted home is crucial for it may be your
home for a short or long time. You want to be safe, comfortable, secure,
and cared for properly.
Following are some key steps to choose an assisted living home:
- Find out about the assisted living homes in the area preferred.
- Find out how the assisted homes compare in quality
- Visit the assisted living home that best meets your needs.
Step 1: To find out the Assisted Living Home in your
- Search the internet and or contact the Department of Health and Services,
Office of Assisted Living Licensing at telephone number (602) 364-2639
for the list of assisted living facilities in the area of your choice
that can provide detailed information.
- Ask the hospital’s discharge planner or social worker or hospices
) for a list of local assisted living homes, if you are in the
hospital or in the care of hospices. Some assisted living homes work
together with the hospitals, and mostly are independent.
- Visit or call senior, social services agency or hospices. Ask to speak
to a social worker or case manager who can find or recommend an Assisted
Living Home for you that they are familiar or work with in the area.
- Ask the people you trust, like your doctor, family friends, neighbors,
or clergy if they had personal experience with any Assisted Living Homes
they know of. They may recommend the one closest to you.
- Call your local Agency on Aging. Their telephone number should be
listed in your local telephone directory. This agency can give you information
about the assisted living homes in your area. You could also do searches
Step 2: Find out how Assisted Living Homes compare in
Quality care means doing the right thing, at the time, in the right
way for the person, and having the best possible results. Assisted homes
are certified to make sure they meet certain State health and safety
requirements. Through the State Agency report, you can compare the State
inspection reports of the assisted living homes in your area and look
at other information, like resident characteristics and staffing levels.
- Compare the number of beds at the facility, and how many are used
- The number of staff working at the facility.
- Information about the current residents (profile)
- Nursing home inspection summary result.
Other ways to find out about assisted living home quality:
- Ask friends and other people you know if they are or were satisfied
with the quality of care.
- Call the State Department of Health and Services and ask on the quality
of the Assisted Living Home you are interested in. (consult your local
- Check with assigned nurse Hospice that is currently in charge of
you or your loved ones.
- Contact local referral and elder care consultants ( firstname.lastname@example.org
) to provide you a list of preferred Assisted Living Homes in the area
of your choice.
Step 3: Visit the Assisted Living Homes you are interested
in, or have someone visit for you.
Before making a decision about the assisted living home, visit the
home you are interested in. A visit gives you the chance to see the
residents, staff and facility. It will also allow you to talk with the
home staff, with the people who live, and get care at the Assisted Living
Home and their family members. Be sure to call the facility and make
an appointment to tour the home before you visit.
If you can’t visit the nursing home yourself, you may want to
get a family member or friend to visit for you. If a family member or
friend can’t visit for you, you can call for information. However,
a visit is highly recommended to see the quality of care and life the
Listed below are some tips to help you or your family member
prepare for a facility tour.
- Get Information
- Visit the Assisted Living Home
- Ask Questions
1. Get Information
Call about Services
- What services does the assisted living home provide?
- The level of care they provide and are they licensed?
Call about Fees
- How is the facility fees structured? What is included with the fees?
Room, meals, and personal care?
- Do they charge extra for other services or care for special medical
See the Inspection Report
- Get a copy of the nursing home report from the Department
of Health and Services, Office of Assisted Living Licensing.
- The inspection report tells you how well the Assisted Living Home
meets State health and safety requirements.
- The facility must have the results of the most recent survey of the
facility done by the State surveyors available for you to look at.
2. Visit the Assisted Living Home
Review the Information:
- Before your visit, go over any information you have already gathered.
Take a Formal Tour:
- Make an appointment with the Assisted Living Home before you visit.
You or any member of your family who will decide should go with the
- Make a formal tour with the Assisted Living Home staff member.
- Ask questions during your tour including questions about the quality
measures mentioned above.
- Look around to get a better picture of the service, activities, and
quality of care and life for the residents.
Remember, print and take the Assisted
Living Home Checklist below on your visit. Fill out and use it to compare
the facility in your area.
Download the Checklist Here
- Revisit the facility a second time, on a different day and at a different
time of the day than when you first visited. Staffing can be different
times of the day, and on weekends.
- Try to visit during the late morning or midday. This allows you to
see residents when they are out of bed, eating, and going to activities.
3. Ask Questions
Use the Assisted Living Home Checklist:
Ask questions from Assisted Living Home Checklist. The Checklist can
help you to know what to look for and what questions to ask so you can
compare Assisted Living Homes. This checklist has basic information,
resident appearance, nursing home living spaces, staff, resident’s
rooms, hallways, stairs, lounges, bathrooms, menus and food, activities,
safety and care.
? Is the Assisted Living Home certified by the State Department of
Health and Services?
? Is there a bed available? (Is there a waiting list)
? Is the Assisted Living Home easy to visit for family and friends.
Ask about Satisfaction:
- Talk to staff, residents, and family members if you can. Ask them
if they are satisfied with the Assisted Living Home and its services.
- Write down any questions you still have about the facility or how
the Assisted Living Home will meet your needs.
- Ask the staff about the quality information from the Assisted Living
Home checklist. This may help compare the homes.
- Ask the staff to explain anything you see and hear that you don’t
understand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Don’t go into resident rooms or
care areas without checking with the resident and Assisted Living Home
Residents have a right to privacy.
4. Choose the Assisted Living Home that best meets your needs.
When you have all the information about the nursing homes you are interested
in, discuss it with your family, friends, doctor, clergy, spiritual
advisor, social worker or case manager. Talk with people who understand
your personal needs and health care needs. They can help you make a
choice that best meets your needs.
If you are helping someone who is about to go into a home, get him
or her involved in making a decision as much as possible. People who
are involved in the beginning are better prepared when they moved into
a home. If the person you are helping is not alert or able to communicate
well, keep his or her values and preferences in mind. Finding a home
that has the right services, and a pleasant comfortable atmosphere,
often requires a lot of planning.
If you find more than one Assisted Living Home you like with a bed
available, use all the information you get to compare them. Trust your
senses. If you don’t like what you see on a visit, if the facility
isn’t clean, or if you weren’t comfortable talking to the
home staff, you may want to choose another home. If you feel that the
residents are treated well, the facility is clean and the staff is helpful,
you might feel better about your decision. Remember that the appearance
of an Assisted Living Home is not as important as the quality of care
and life, and a friendly, caring atmosphere.
Some important things to think about when making
Each facility is different. Spend time with your family thinking about
what is important to you. The list below can help you or your family
see how Assisted Living Homes may vary.
Quality of Life: Does the staff treat residents in
a respectful way? Are there a variety of social, recreational, religious,
cultural activities? Do the residents have choices over their schedule
and living space? Do the residents have privacy for visits or personal
Quality of Care: Are there enough staff? Are the residents
getting the care they need? Can the residents still see their personal
doctors? Does the facility have any quality of care deficiencies? What
did the quality information on the Assisted Living Homes checklist show
about this home?
Location: Is the Assisted Living Home close to family
and friends so they can visit often? Frequent visits are the best way
to make sure that you or your loved ones does well in the Assisted Living
Home. Having visitors can make the transition to the home easier for
you or your family. Visitors can also help support you or act on your
behalf by bringing concerns to the facility manager or administrator.
Availability: Is a bed available now, or can you add
your name to a waiting list? Remember, Assisted Living Homes do not
have to accept all applicants, but they must comply with Civil Rights
laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin,
disability, age, or religion under certain conditions.
Staffing: Do the caregivers work with a reasonable
number of residents on the day shift? Is there a doctor available if
needed? Are there therapy staff available?
Religious and cultural preferences: Does the Assisted
Living Home offer religious or cultural support you need? Do they provide
any special diet your faith practice requires?
Language: Is your primary language spoken at the facility
by staff or residents? Being able to communicate with others is important.
Policies: Policies are rules that all residents must
follow. They may be different in each Assisted Living Home. Are you
comfortable with the policies? For example, smoking may not be allowed
or may be restricted to certain areas of the facility.
Services and Fees: Does the Assisted Living Home have
the services you need? Assisted Living Home must tell you in writing
about their services, charges, and fees before you move into the home.
Get a copy of the fee schedule to find out which services cost extra.
Then you can compare the costs of different nursing homes.
Security: Does the Assisted Living Home provide a
safe environment? Is there a guard at the door? Is the Assisted Living
home locked at night? Are there special “wander guards”
to help keep residents who may become confused in the facility?
Preventive Care: Does the Assisted Living Home make
sure that residents get preventive care to help keep them healthy? Does
the Assisted Living Home have a screening program for immunization such
as Flu (influenza) and pneumonia?
Hospital: Does the Assisted Living Home have an arrangement
with a nearby hospital for emergencies? Can your doctor care for you
at that hospital?
Accredited (accreditation): Is the Assisted Living
Home accredited by various State agencies in charge of Assisted Living
Home and hospices serving the residents and the area? Being accredited
is like having a “seal of approval”.
Licensed: Are the Assisted Living Home and current
administrator licensed in your State? If so, that means that they have
met certain standards set by a State or local government agency.
Certified (certification): If you are getting assisted
living care, and or ALTCS is paying for your care, make sure the Assisted
Living Home is ALTCS certified. This means the Assisted living home
has passed an inspection survey done by a State government agency. ALTCS
will only pay for care in a certified Assisted Living Home. Being certified
is not the same as being accredited. Also, some Assisted Living Home
set aside only a few beds for ALTCS residents.
Assisted Living Home Checklist:
The checklist can help you at, and compare the Assisted Living Homes
that you visit. Look at the checklist before you go on your Assisted
Living Home visit or tour. This will give you an idea about the kinds
of question to ask and what you should look for as you tour the facility
and see the staff and the residents. Some of these questions may be
more personally important to you and your family, and some are more
important for finding out about the quality of care the residents get.
Use a new checklist for each Assisted Living Home you visit. You can
photocopy the checklist or print out additional copies.
Use your completed checklist with the quality information to help you
compare the Assisted Living Homes you are interested in.
• The number of beds at the facility, and how many are being
• The number of staff working at the facility.
• Information about the residents (a profile).
• Assisted Living Home inspection summary results.
• Quality measures for ALTCS certified Assisted Living Home.
the Checklist Here [Requires PDF Reader]
If you or your family needs help or more information, you can contact
senior centers, Hospices (www.trinityhospice.com,
), elder care consultants (email@example.com),
Sharie Boyd (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or call (520) 431-4467, that are serving the area and the Department
of Health Services. The telephone number is (602) 364-2639.