10 Things to Look for in an Assisted Living Community - person holding another's hands

10 Things to Look for in an Assisted Living Community

By: Jack Bernstein

Phelps LaClair knows that when you’re looking for a living community for you or for a loved one, you want to make the right decision. Today, there are assisted living communities throughout the United States. You can stay close to home or set off on a new adventure in retirement. How do you know if an assisted living community is a good fit? Here are 10 things to look for in an assisted living community.

Does the assisted living community have the amenities you’re looking for?

Is it important for your assisted living facility to have a transportation service? Do you want a facility with a bank on site? Do you want to continue gardening or working in a shop? Does your morning fitness routine include laps in the pool? Today’s assisted living communities have a wide range of amenities for all kinds of tastes. You should determine what matters to you the most and look for a facility that’s a great match.

Are the facility’s billing policies clear?

It’s important to know what a facility charges and how they bill. You should clearly understand what’s included and when you can expect extra costs. You should also ask what happens if you run out of money. The right assisted living community is one that offers you a written contract that you can understand. The financial obligations of the community should be clear including basic charges and extraordinary expenses that may arise.

Are there prohibited activities in private rooms?

Remember how you couldn’t use a hot plate in your college dorm? Different assisted living communities have various restrictions on activities in private rooms. If you want to burn candles or even cook, be sure to check that these activities are allowed in resident rooms. The assisted living community should have a list of activities that are prohibited.

Does the facility work with payment programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran’s Administration aid and long-term care insurance?

Residents of assisted living facilities often rely on government programs or private insurance to pay for their care. Not all facilities accept all kinds of payment. You need to make sure that your facility accepts the type of payment that you want to use right away as well as the kinds of payment that you might rely on in the future. It’s important to ask how these payment plans work and whether the method of payment impacts your total financial obligation.

Does the facility have an emergency preparedness plan?

Even if an emergency seems unlikely, a sudden event can create a safety risk for members of an assisted living community. The right assisted living facility should have detailed plans for extreme weather, large-scale public health issues, and other emergencies. Most states require all facilities to create written plans, but the requirements may vary by state. Reviewing the facility’s emergency preparedness plans can give you peace of mind as well as help you determine if the facility can meet your daily needs and handle emergencies.

Do I like the weather?

Life in an assisted living community is likely very different in the Northern United States and the Southern United States. Wherever you live, you’re subject to the extreme weather that residents experience in the region. You might prefer lots of sunny days, or you might enjoy the variations of four seasons. Weather is one thing to think about when you start to narrow down your choices for an assisted living community.

Are there complaints against the facility?

Checking a facility’s complaint record is a good way to see if there have been serious problems at the facility. The state where the facility is located should have a record of complaints. In addition, you should ask the facility directly about complaints to see if representatives are honest. If abuse occurs at an assisted living community, those responsible may have to pay nursing home abuse damages to the victims and their families.

Do the proper safety measures appear to be in place?

When you tour a facility, some basic safety measures should be apparent. Here are just some of the safety measures that you should look for in an assisted living community:

  • No dirt or stains
  • No strange odors or perfumes that may be covering up problems
  • Grab bars to prevent falls
  • Call buttons
  • Exit signs that are clearly marked
  • Functioning sprinklers
  • Smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Sufficient staff to meet resident needs

Do the current residents look happy?

The residents of an assisted living facility should look happy. You can talk to residents that you meet, and you should see residents moving about freely to the full extent of their abilities. If the residents of the facility look like they’re enjoying life, there’s a good chance that you or your loved one are going to enjoy living at the facility, too.

Does the assisted living community feel like home?

An assisted living community is home. From the cozy to the luxurious, assisted living communities have a variety of styles. Ultimately, the right assisted living community is the community that feels like home. With these 10 things to look for in an Assisted Living Community, we’re confident you will find the one that’s right for you.


Jack Bernstein is a Miami, Florida nursing home abuse lawyer with over 36 years of experience fighting for victims rights.



Images used under creative commons license (Commerical Use) 02/21/19   Photo by Jonathan Folk from Burst

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