Deciding to place your loved one in an assisted living facility is big. Although it could feel overwhelming, having an organized strategy will guide your decisions and aid your family member.

Spend some time touring the facilities you are thinking about. Ask questions, and feel free to talk to administrators and staff members about your worries.


Assisted living fees vary according to the facility’s size, location, and quality of care. Some facilities have flat rates that include rent, food and services. Others use a la carte pricing, where residents pay for each service they receive.

The facility’s contract should spell out what is included in the monthly fee and any additional costs, fees or charges. Review contracts carefully, and consider hiring an elder law attorney.

Ask the facility about what happens if a resident’s health deteriorates to the point that they need more care than the community can provide, such as incontinence or memory loss. Many assisted living communities like Grace Ridge have internal transition programs that minimize disruption but may require a move to a different type of care, such as memory care or nursing home care. Also, determine whether the facility offers long-term care insurance, which may cover some costs.


When searching for the right assisted living facility for a family member, it’s important to consider their clinical, budgetary, and lifestyle requirements, as each facility may differ. To help you do so, list their “must-haves” and “want-to-haves.”

A tour can provide an excellent opportunity to observe how clean the facility is, the quality of activities, and whether residents are healthy and happy. Please pay attention to how employees interact with the residents, and note how they handle disagreements or problems.

Also, check online reviews for the facility. It may have a bad reputation, but it could be that the family was unhappy with dinners or some other aspect of life at the facility. Inquire about these complaints and how the staff resolves them. You’ll also want to know if the facility offers special programs for people with certain medical conditions or intellectual and developmental disabilities. If so, ask if your loved one would be interested in them.


Leaving one’s home and moving into assisted living is an emotional upheaval for a senior. Sympathy, respect and a clear understanding of what to expect can make the process much easier.

Assisted living facility residents can be grouped by their abilities and participate in group activities such as singing along with familiar songs from the past or playing games like bingo. They might also be encouraged to exercise by bouncing and tossing beach balls, using large elastic bands that help stretch, tone and strengthen arms and legs, or doing gentle calisthenics.

When visiting a facility, consider its ambiance and whether it feels warm and welcoming. Is it clean and well-maintained? Does it have good lighting and clear areas to walk indoors and outdoors? Is furniture provided, or does it need to be brought in? How about guests – are they allowed to stay overnight?


A good facility will have staff members available to meet a resident’s needs around the clock. Inquire about the staff’s training, including that of the nurses, physical therapists, cooks, and housekeepers. Ask about the staff-to-resident ratio during the day and at night and whether loved ones can visit overnight.

Visiting the residence several times is helpful, especially at mealtimes and during activities, says the National Center for Assisted Living. Visiting a resident’s room and bathroom can help you gauge comfort levels. Also, ask what furniture is included in each living space. Many facilities offer furniture, but some allow residents to bring their own. And don’t forget to consider how close the facility is to local shopping centers, churches and other activities. Grief and feelings of loss are inevitable when a loved one moves to assisted living, but regular contact with family will help. Visit as often as possible, and check in via phone and email.

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