Consumer Checklist for Assisted Living

 Provided by the Ohio Assisted Living Association*

The following is a consumer checklist of important services, amenities and accommodations in Assisted Living communities.  We recommend making several visits, at various times, to each Assisted Living community you are considering.  As you compare Assisted Living options we hope this checklist will assure you that the community you choose will be one of the highest quality and meets your needs.

Consider the following as you assess an Assisted Living community…


  • As you arrive at the community, do you like its location and outward appearance?
  • As you enter the lobby and tour the community, is the décor attractive and homelike?
  • Did you receive a warm greeting from staff welcoming you to the community?
  • Do the staff call residents by name and interact warmly with them?
  • Do residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable?
  • Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the community and staff?
  • Do the residents seem to be appropriate house mates for you or your loved one?
  • Is staff appropriately dressed, personable and outgoing?
  • Do the staff members treat each other in a professional manner?
  • Are the staff members that you pass during your tour friendly to you?
  • Are visitors welcome?

Physical Features

  • Is the community well-designed for resident's needs?
  • Is the floor plan easy to follow?
  • Are doorways, hallways and rooms accommodating to wheelchairs and walkers?
  • Are elevators available for those unable to use stairways?
  • Are hand rails available to aid in walking?
  • Are cabinets and shelves easy to reach?
  • Are floors of a non-skid material and carpets firm to ease walking?
  • Does the community have good natural and artificial lighting?
  • Is the community clean, free of odors and appropriately heated/cooled?
  • Does the community meet local and/or state licensing requirements?

Needs Assessments, Contracts, Costs & Finances

  • Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
  • Does the community have a process for assessing a potential resident's need for services and are those needs addressed periodically?
  • Does this process include the resident, their family and facility staff along with the resident's physician?
  • When may a contract be terminated and what are refund policies?
  • Is a contract agreement available to include accommodations, personal care, health care and supportive services?
  • Are additional services available if the resident's needs change?
  • Is there a procedure to pay for additional services, like nursing care, when the services are needed on a temporary basis?
  • Do billing, payment, and credit policies seem fair and reasonable?
  • May a resident handle their own finances with staff assistance if able or should a family member or outside party be designated to do so?
  • Are residents required to purchase renters' insurance for personal property in their units?
  • Is staff available to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs?
  • Does the community participate in the Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver Program?

Medication & Health Care

  • Does the community have specific policies regarding storage of medication, assistance with medications, training and supervision of staff and record keeping?
  • Is self-administration of medication allowed?
  • Is there a staff person to coordinate home care visits from a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, etc. if needed?
  • Are staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or judgement losses?
  • Is there a wellness program?
  • Does the community have a clearly stated procedure for responding to a resident's medical emergency?


  • Can the community provide a list of services available?
  • Is staff available to provided 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living (ADL's) if needed? ADL's include:
    • Dressing
    • Eating
    • Mobility
    • Hygiene and grooming
    • Bathing, toileting and incontinence
    • Using the telephone
    • Shopping
    • Laundry
  • Does the community provide housekeeping services in residents' units?
  • What transportation is included, or available for an additional fee?
  • Can residents arrange for transportation on fairly short notice?
  • Are pharmacy, barber/beautician and/or physical therapy services offered on-site?

Apartment Features

  • Are different sizes and types of units available?
  • Are units for single and double occupancy available?
  • Do residents have their own lockable doors?
  • Is a 24-hour emergency response system accessible for the unit?
  • Are bathrooms private with handicapped accommodations to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers?
  • Are residents able to bring their own furnishings for their unit and what may they bring?
  • Is a telephone hook-up available in the unit?  What TV or Internet services are available …and how are they billed?
  • Is a kitchen area provided with a refrigerator, sink and microwave?
  • May residents keep food in their units?
  • Is the community a non-smoking environment, or what areas are available where residents or visitors can smoke?

 Social & Recreational Activities

  • Is there evidence of an organized activities program, such as a posted daily schedule, events in progress, reading materials, visitors, etc.?
  • Do residents participate in activities outside of the assisted living, in the neighboring community?
  • Do volunteers, including family members, come into the community to help with or conduct programs?
  • Does the assisted living create a sense of community by asking and encouraging residents to participate in activities?
  • Are residents' pets allowed in the residence? Who is responsible for their care?
  • Does the residence have its own pets?

Food Services

  • Does the residence provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day, seven day a week …or allow you other options (only lunch and dinner, etc.)?
  • Are meal times appropriate?
  • Are snacks available?
  • May a resident request special foods?
  • Are common dining areas available?
  • Do dining room menus vary from day to day and meal to meal?

*This checklist was adapted from a previous document that was provided by the Assisted Living Federation of America, now Argentum.