Adapted from the publication, Choosing An Assisted Living Facility: Considerations for Making the Right Decision, by the Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living. Visit the website for more information at www.ccal.org.
1. Identify the facilities in your area and plan to visit as many as you can. Use search engines on the internet to identify facilities. Visit the facility’s website and take a virtual tour to narrow your choices. Remember that the closer the facility to your home, the more likely you are to make frequent visits. Be sure to tour the facility and ask the questions that are most important for your physical, financial and lifestyle needs.
2. Choose your top 2 or 3 choices and return to those facilities to ask more questions. It is important while at those facilities to talk with staff and residents. Ask how long staff and management have worked at the facility. Ask residents about their experiences living at the facility. If possible, have a meal. Compare the answers to your questions from the different facilities that you visit.
3. Ask to review the Resident Agreement (facility contract). This document should provide information about services, rates, additional fees, facility and resident responsibilities, admission and discharge criteria, and conditions of termination of the contract.
4. Review the licensing or certification inspection reports and contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman for complaints about the facility. These reports may be available online. Complaints alone do not indicate the quality of the community. It is important to ask how the complaints were resolved or corrected.
5. Make an unannounced visit to the facility. You can learn a lot about a community by visiting during meals, in the evenings or on weekends. For resident safety and privacy reasons, you may not be able to tour the community at these times unless accompanied by a staff member. However, observations in the lobby or common areas can be invaluable in your decision.
Use these tips to choose the community that best fits your needs.