The Cottages Blog

20 Questions: Your Checklist for Finding an Assisted Living Community for Mom

Posted by Dawn Owens on Feb 27, 2016 9:00:00 AM


If you are just starting the process of finding an assisted living community for Mom, chances are you have a lot of questions and so does she. If you’re not familiar with senior care, the research process can be overwhelming and confusing. Take it one step at a time. Before you make any decisions, call assisted living communities in your area and inquire about Mom coming for a visit.

During your phone calls and your visits, there are questions that you need to ask in order to get a better understanding of each community. You want to find which community is best suited for Mom. Before you call or visit anywhere, sit down with Mom and make a list of questions that are specific to her needs. Does she need help cooking? Cleaning? Does she have mobility issues? Does she require dementia care?

After you have your own personal questions, consider the following list of 20 questions that you should ask of each assisted living community:


  • What is your staff-to-resident ratio and how many staffers are on duty at certain times?
  • What kind of background checks and training are required of your staff?
  • What are your medication policies and who administers medications?
  • Is there a nurse on staff, and if so, are they available 24 hours a day?
  • Is there a resident assessment prior to admission?
  • Is there a written care plan for each resident?
  • What are your billing and payment policies?
  • What services are included in your monthly fee and what services cost extra?
  • What is your procedure for medical emergencies?
  • Are residents with dementia located in a separate wing?
  • What is your discharge policy?
  • What types of apartments/units are available and what is their monthly cost?
  • Is furniture provided by the community for each unit?
  • If a resident has a complaint, what is the appeals process?
  • Can residents come and go as they please?
  • What are your dining options and where is the main dining area?
  • Do you have an outdoor space?
  • Does the community have specific visiting hours?
  • What activities and events are available to residents?
  • If there is a waiting list, how many are on it and what is your waiting list policy? 

Download A Printable Checklist


These questions are some of the more important ones, but they are just the basics. There are many more in-depth questions that you should ask yourself and others while visiting an assisted living community. Finding the right place for Mom takes time, and research, and patience. Making such a big life change can be scary, but it doesn't have to be. Try to view this process as a new adventure that you and Mom get to go on together.

Looking for assisted living in Alabama, Mississippi, or Tennessee? We would love to help you in your search! Visit our locations page to find a community near you.



Topics: Downsizing for Seniors, Senior Housing

Dawn Owens

Written by: Dawn Owens

Dawn has been part of the Cottage family for over 10 years. She comes from a strong background in mental health care, with a certification in crisis intervention. Dawn has two daughters, Alika and Ava. She enjoys walking, scrapbooking, and playing softball.