Choosing the right assisted living facility

October 31, 2023

Healthy Aging Primary Care
A mature daughter helping mother understand her bills

Choosing the right assisted living facility

If your loved one’s memory loss or overall health condition has reached the point where they need additional care, choosing the right assisted living requires careful research and planning. From cost to living space layouts to on-site medical services and more, there’s a lot to consider when deciding about their future living situation.

For those who need help with everyday tasks such as bathing, getting dressed and keeping up with medication, but don’t require constant supervision and care, an assisted living facility is an ideal option. Assisted living facilities provide private apartment-style living with 24/7 nursing care available, offering a good combination of independent living with assistance when needed.

Things to consider

Some important things to consider when choosing the right assisted living facility are:

  • The facility’s experience and track record – The facility’s experience and track record –Are they CARF accredited? Have they passed state inspection? What training and experience do the staff and leadership team have?
  • The facility’s medical care services – Is there a medical clinic on site? Is the assisted living community integrated with a particular health care system? Will the staff work with you to coordinate your loved one’s medical needs? Do costs change if a resident’s medical needs change?
  • The facility’s amenities – What amenities are offered? What are the dining options? How does the assisted living community support the social, emotional and physical needs of residents? How do they keep residents safe?
  • The facility’s turnover rate – Is there a problem with retaining staff?

Start your search

With those questions in mind, here’s how to search for – and find – the perfect place for your loved one according to Denise Butler, MA, CSA, geriatric assessment coordinator at Riverside Health System.

First, sit down with your loved one and create a checklist of their needs and wants. Then, do an internet search of assisted living communities in your area, and ask friends and neighbors for recommendations.

“Family and friends are great resources for recommendations, and the internet can help you narrow down places based on your loved one’s needs,” says Butler.

Other sources you can turn to for information include:

Once you have a list of facilities you’re interested in, call them to schedule a tour. On the day of your tour, bring your checklist and questions.

“Ask if you can meet with staff from both the administrative and health care teams and request to see their latest inspection report,” Butler says. “Bring a pen to mark off your checklist and write down answers and information. And try to find an impromptu opportunity to speak with residents about their experience there.”

You may want to visit the facility more than once – an unscheduled visit may offer more insight into what it’s like to live there.

Once your family has made a decision, be sure to carefully review the facility’s resident agreement before you sign it. If anything about the contract is questionable or confusing, ask someone you trust or even an attorney for help before signing.

Riverside operates five physician-led assisted living communities throughout Eastern Virginia, including ones that provide specialized memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Learn more about assisted living in our communities.


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