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Kaplan 8-24_How to Choose an AL CommunityOnce you’ve decided that assisted living is the right fit for you or a loved one, ideally with some help from our last blog, now you can focus on finding the right community. There are likely a number of assisted living communities from which to choose in your local area, so what should you consider? And what’s the best way to compare? Find out here.

What Do You Want in an Assisted Living Community?

Before you start researching the communities themselves, it’s helpful to take a step back and think about what you or your loved one would want out of assisted living. Typically, your meals, weekly housekeeping, linens, transportation and daily activities are included in the monthly fee for these communities. But this checklist can help you get started thinking about the features you would consider “must haves” as well as those that would be nice to have in assisted living.


Must Have

Nice To Have

Not Sure/No



Private accommodations


Choice of floor plans (e.g., studio, 1- or 2-bedroom)




Homelike Feel






Concierge services


Restaurant-style dining


Outdoor spaces/walking paths


Events and outings



Access to spiritual programs


Enrichment opportunities


Pet friendly


Onsite beauty salon/barbershop






24-hour staffing


Onsite registered nursing team


Third-party visits by healthcare providers


Support with activities of daily living


Medication management


Individualized wellness plans


Fitness Center/Classes






Emergency response system


Secure entry/exit






Start Your Research Online

Now that you have a better idea of what you’re looking for in a community, we recommend starting your research online to narrow your options. Search for assisted living in you or your loved one’s preferred location and then go to each community for more information.

Beyond detailing the services, features and amenities they offer, each community website will typically have links to videos, image galleries, activity calendars and perhaps even interactive floor plans. 

From there, check out (and follow) the social media sites of the communities in which you are interested to get a sense of their personality as well as daily life for the residents. Many also offer helpful resources like blogs, guides, newsletters and even self-guided assessments. Make sure to check online reviews as well to get additional insight into the reputation of these communities!

When It’s Time to Tour

After narrowing your assisted living options down to two to three communities, it’s time to compare them more closely. Many communities are now offering the choice of either virtual tours to give you an inside look from the comfort of your home or in-person tours where you can fully immerse yourself in the experience. Whichever way you decide to tour, it’s important to do so based on the same criteria for each community to make the process easier. This checklist provides some key questions for comparison.



Community 1





Community 2





Community 3







What is the community’s reputation and/or rating? 


What is the resident-to-staff ratio (day & night)?


What level(s) of care is offered in the community? 


What training and qualifications do staff members have? Is training ongoing?


Are staff members friendly and welcoming? 


How well has the staff communicated with you so far? 




What types of activities are offered?


What amenities are available?


What is the dining experience like? Does the menu have variety as well as nutritious, appealing options?


Is transportation offered?


Are pets allowed?


What’s the daily schedule?


Are there plenty of opportunities to socialize? Do residents seem friendly and welcoming?


How often are housekeeping and laundry provided?




What safety and security features are provided?


How does the community handle medical emergencies?


What types of accommodations are offered?  What are the cost differences?


Is community occupancy high or low?


Can residents personalize their space?


Is the community clean? Does it feel warm and inviting?


How’s the location?




What is the monthly fee for the community?


What’s included in the monthly fee? What services are add-ons?


What are the payment options?








Don’t forget to also check with people who have firsthand experience with the communities you are considering such as residents and/or their families if that’s possible. But also check with your own family members and friends as well as you or your loved one’s doctor, attorney, financial planner, spiritual leader, or other professionals who might have insight.

For more information download our Just the Facts Guide to Assisted Living or contact us today to schedule a tour.

Guide to Assisted Living

Written by All American