Choosing an assisted living facility for your elderly mom or dad is one of the toughest decisions you will make as a caregiver. Moving into a nursing home or n assisted living facility involves major changes in an elderly person's life -- and yours.

An assisted living facility is a community for seniors who cannot live independently. They provide mobility assistance and daily living care for bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, and eating. The biggest difference between assisted living and nursing homes is that assisted living does not provide medical care. Your elderly parent will not have 24-hour access to doctors and nurses on-site.

To help you find the best facility, here is a list of basic questions to ask when you are choosing assisted living for your elderly parents.

Print a checklist for each assisted living facility you visit. Then, compare the lists, to help you select the best possible assisted living for your aging mom or dad. To find elder care facilities in your local area, including assisted living, visit the Provider Directory on AgingCare.

Questions to Ask

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  • Is the assisted living facility Medicare certified?
  • Is the assisted living accepting new patients and if so, what is the waiting period for admission?
  • How many beds are available?
  • Is the staff licensed and certified?
  • Are background checks conducted on all employees?
  • Does the facility have an abuse prevention training program?
  • Does the facility have any complains or lawsuits filed against it?
  • How does the facility monitor for abuse?
  • Can residents make choices about their daily routine?
  • What are the visiting hours?
  • Does the assisted living facility meet your parent's cultural and religious needs?
  • Can residents bring personal items and furniture?
  • Are the common areas pleasant and comfortable?
  • Is there an outdoor area for recreation?
  • Is the dining room comfortable and quiet?
  • What menu options/special dietary needs are available?
  • Does the food and smell good and is it served at proper room temperatures?
  • Can residents continue to see their personal doctors?
  • Is there an arrangement with a local hospital for emergencies?
  • Do residents have the same caregiver on a daily basis?
  • Is the facility fully staffed at nights and on the weekends?
  • Is there regular communication between families and administrators?
  • Are there handrails and grab bars throughout the facility?
  • Are exits clearly marked?
  • Are spills and accidents cleaned up quickly?
  • Are hallways well-lighted and clutter-free?
  • Are smoke detectors and sprinklers installed throughout?

Print Checklist