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For Consumers: Questions to Ask

Questions to Ask

Listed below are some questions to ask when researching and considering assisted living and senior housing providers in your area.


  • Is the residence attractive and homelike? Visit unannounced at different times of the day.
  • Is the staff friendly and do they know residents by name?
  • Are residents and their families happy and can you talk with them about their experiences?
  • Are visits with the resident welcome at any time?

Physical Features

  • Does the building design meet your needs and the needs of an aging population?
  • Is the residence clean, free of odors and appropriately heated/cooled?
  • Does the residence meet local and/or state licensing requirements?

Needs Assessments, Contracts, Costs & Finances

  • Does the residence have written resident agreements outlining services, prices, extra charges, admission and discharge criteria and house rules?
  • Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
  • Are the residents' needs assessed periodically?
  • Does the assessment process include the resident, family, staff and physician?
  • Are there any government, private or corporate programs to help pay for services?
  • Are more services available if the resident’s needs change?
  • Is staff available to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs?
  • When may a contract be terminated and what are the refund policies?
  • Is there a disclosure statement available that details information regarding the ownership and financial solvency of the parent company?

Medication & Health Care

  • Does the residence 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 coordination of home care visits from a nurse or physical therapist, etc.?
  • Are staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation or judgment losses?
  • Does a physician or nurse visit the residents regularly to provide medical checkups?
  • How does the residence respond to a resident’s medical emergency?
  • To what extent are medical services available, and how are services provided?


  • Can the residence provide a list of available services?
  • Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) if needed? ADLs include: dressing, eating, mobility, hygiene and grooming, bathing, toileting and incontinence, using telephone, shopping, laundry.
  • Does the residence provide housekeeping services in residents' units?
  • Is transportation to the doctors’ offices, hairdresser, shopping, etc. provided?
  • Can residents arrange for transportation on a fairly short notice?
  • Are pharmacy and physical services offered on-site?
  • Are barber/beautician services offered on-site?

Individual Unit Features

  • Are different sizes and types of units available?
  • Are single and double occupancy units available?
  • Is a 24-hour emergency response system accessible from the unit?
  • Are bathrooms private with handicapped accommodations for wheelchairs and walkers, if needed?
  • Are residents able to bring their own furnishings for their units and what may they bring? What is provided?
  • Is a kitchen area/unit provided with a refrigerator, sink and cooking element?
  • Do residents have their own lockable doors?

Social & Recreational Activities

  • Does the residence have an organized activities program, such as a posted daily schedule, events in progress, etc?
  • Do residents participate in activities outside of the residence?
  • Are pets allowed? Does the residence have its own pets?

Food Service

  • Does the residence provide three nutritionally balanced meals 24 hours, 7 days per week?
  • Are snacks available?
  • May a resident request special foods?
  • May residents eat meals in their units?
  • May residents eat meals at a time they would like or is there a set schedule?
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