Senior Guidance

Moving to Assisted Living Checklist

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Moving to Assisted Living: 21 Point Checklist

Moving to assisted living facilities is usually a tough but beneficial choice for the elderly. It allows them to spend their time in a secure, supportive, comfortable, and pleasant environment in their post-retirement years.

The communities also encourage occupants to remain as independent as possible as they gain the much-needed freedom to do the things that they deem essential.

Unfortunately, it is not possible for an older adult to wake up one morning and decide that they want to move into the facilities and it happens in a snap of a finger. Either alone or with the help of their family members or friends, they have to do a lot of research and planning to ensure that the move brings nothing but pure joy to the retirees.

Before packing and starting a new phase of life in the senior living communities, there are plenty of things that a person needs to know as well as do. Our assisted living checklist includes a total of 21 things that you need to keep in mind before making your move to assisted living:

1. Identify the Assisted Living Facility Where You Want to Spend Your Golden Years

The first thing to do before transitioning into the assisted retirement homes is to find the home that best suits the needs of the senior citizens. An individual should start by knowing the state or city where they would be most comfortable in their post-retirement years and find assisted living facilities nearby.

From here, they can go ahead and search for the senior housing apartments in the area. Note that these usually differ regarding size, services and amenities they offer. Go through as many assisted living facilities as possible to identify at least three or more homes that an older adult would love.

The search does not end here because it is always advisable to visit the residences to see whether what they advertise is what they practice on the ground. During the visit, there are plenty of things that can help determine the ideal assisted living center for elderly, and these include:

2. Find Out the Mission and Purpose of the Assisted Living Communities

These will let you in on the primary differences between the senior housing options as it will give you insights on how they approach senior care. Settle for the one whose purpose closely aligns with the beliefs and attitude of the elderly resident who will be staying on their premise.

3. Look at Community Cleanliness

Nobody wants their parents or grandparents to spend time in a filthy dump. Take note of the home’s cleanliness and organization from the second you step in. It should give off a cheerful vibe that attracts the demographics they cater for. Does the place have well-manicured lawns or has the grass not been cut in a few years? Walk around the facility to see if the cleaning staff does their job or everything is just in a haphazard manner. Go to all the common areas that the centers have to note if they are places that aging individuals would like to spend their time. Is smoking allowed in the facilities? Many assisted living facilities do not allow smokers, so you should look out for designated smoking areas if the retirees want to continue with their old habits.

4. Determine Friendliness of the Caregivers and other Personnel

It is essential to find an assisted living home which only employs compassionate staff members who are friendly and are always serving the seniors with a smile on their face. You can notice this by how they interact with the other occupants.

Residents will be free with the personnel and want to spend more time with them if they are kind to the older adults. On the other hand, the way they welcome (or not welcome) you to their residence should also say a lot about how they conduct things. The officials you interact with should be transparent when giving you the information you need without ignoring or making you feel as though you are bothering them.

It does not hurt to find out about training requirements of the staff to be sure that the facility only employs well-trained and highly qualified personnel. You should also know if the management conducts backgrounds checks before allowing a person to work for them.

5. Find Out the Type of Service the Assisted Living Facilities Offer

Because all senior citizens do not always share similar needs, it is vital to find out the level of services that the centers offer. Some facilities strictly admit inhabitants who require assisted living services while others provide continuing service allowing the residents to age in place. Gauge the level of service that senior citizens need to make an informed decision on which retirement community will benefit them most.

Do not forget to ask how the facilities determine the level of care that the senior citizens need when they are staying on their premises. A majority conduct initial senior living assessment that they review after a while to ensure that they meet all the needs of the occupants.

6. Find Out the Activities that the Assisted Living Homes Offer

One of the primary reasons aging individuals love staying in assisted senior housing apartments if the fact that they organize various age-appropriate events and activities to fill up their free time with things that interest them. Find out the schedule of activities as well as what goes into planning them to make certain that is something the older generation enjoys.

7. Look at Assisted Living Accommodation Options

Different senior living communities have various living quarters they offer potential residents. Find out the varieties your preferred assisted living homes provide to decide on what the elder’s next living quarter will be. These usually range from studio apartments, one or two bedroom houses, cottages, bungalows and other suites. There are also some very luxury assisted living options in some communities, so determine what you want by looking at all the options.

Check to see if they have spacious rooms that are well lit and the appliances they offer. Management should mark the exit areas clearly and have fire safety systems and emergency response plans in place.  Look out for other safety features that they include in their living areas such as handrails and grab bars in the bathrooms and emergency response systems in the bedrooms.

Check to see the utilities that the rooms have which may include cable TV, internet and telephone access. Remember to find out if there are any waiting lists and the number of occupants the assisted living facility can hold at a time. It may also help to get details about occupancy rate.

8. Do the Assisted Living Facilities have Memory Care Units?

It is common for seniors to experience memory care issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s. When looking for the ideal senior living community, it is crucial to make sure that they have separate areas where such a population receives appropriate care to ensure that they are happy and enjoy utmost comfort, even when they have memory care problems.

9. Check Accreditations and Licensing

Although state and federal guidelines seldom require assisted living facilities to be accredited, the ones that have certifications usually prove that the care services they offer meet or even exceed the prescribed standard of care. Assisted living licensing is generally required in every state, so make sure the facilities that you are considering are up-to-date with all of their licensing requirements and do not have any current (and even past) violations.

10. Do the Facilities Offer Meals?

You must find out whether your preferred assisted living residences offer food or occupants have to cook for themselves. If they do, who prepares them and what are the menu offerings? Do they consider dietary requests? Do they offer snacks?

Does the place have a common dining area? Can a senior eat in their quarters? What ingredients do they use for food preparation? If possible, it would be best to tour the facility during mealtimes to try out some dishes that they offer their occupants.

11. Are the Assisted Living Communities Pet-Friendly?

If an older adult does not want to separate with their furry friend when moving to the facilities, it helps to look for a pet-friendly option. Find out the domestic animals that the homes allow and how they approach the care of the pets.

12. Ask About Transportation Services

It is also essential to find out about the transportation plans that the assisted senior housing communities work with. Do they allow residents to bring their cars if they so wish and offer professionals drivers to chauffeur them around? Alternatively, do they have shuttle services or other transportation arrangements that allow inhabitants to run errands and honor appointments with ease?

13. Ask About Medical Services

Be sure to find out if the assisted living facilities offer any medical services. Do they hire nurses to help out with the coordination or oversight? Do they invite various specialists to come in and provide their services? Can an aging individual work with a home health agency? What happens when the needs of the elderly change?

14. Find Out About Residency Agreements

It is not something that anyone should ignore if they want to live in the assisted living communities. Request for a copy of the residency agreement to find out all the details about its contents. It usually highlights the rights of the residents as well as the services that the retirement homes offer and how they operate.

Read through the entire document carefully to know that you understand everything it says. Older adults can get help from their lawyers or relatives when reviewing what the legally binding document says. It is essential because all occupants sign the paper before moving in and will be bound by the assisted living residency agreement.

15. Find Out the Assisted Living Costs

Before concluding your visit, to the potential assisted living facilities, it is mandatory that you find out how much it costs to reside there. Find out the payment schedules and whether they work with an all-inclusive model or an a la carte option. It will help you to make financial plans to know how to cover expenses.

Find out whether the facilities demand any deposits or reservation fees and whether they refund them if you choose to leave the facility. You should also know about the policies of increasing their rent. With these details, you can even tell if you need to search for financial aid to afford to live in the residences.

16. Talk to Current Residents

There are no better people to tell you everything about living in the residences than the current occupants. Interview a few of them to get to know how they feel about their living space. If the majority of the reviews are positive, it goes to show that the place is excellent for the older generation.

 After finding the perfect assisted living facility, it is now time to prepare for the move. Some things that can make the process seamless include:

17. Decide What to Do With the Current Home

Seniors need to start by thinking of what they are going to do with their current living space or house. Some may opt to let their children or grandchildren stay and look after the residence. Others prefer to rent out the home so that they can be getting monthly income to pay for assisted living. Some senior adults decide that selling the house is the best option.

18. Start De-Cluttering

In most instances, older adults cannot move with all their belongings to their new assisted living quarters. They need to take time to go through their possessions to determine what goes and what stays. The number of things they bring with them usually depends on the size of their new senior residence.

The elderly should only move with the things that will make their living quarters feel homely and look nice without too many unnecessary things. Plan beforehand on how to dispose of the items that the senior citizens do not need. You may choose to give things you won’t be needed away to friends or family, donate them, or sell them to raise some additional money.

If there are some things they do not want to let go off but do not use them frequently, they can ask staff members to put them in storage as most assisted living facilities facilitate this. Examples of items that retirees can take to the senior housing apartments include:

Basic furniture:

  • Sofa
  • Nightstand
  • Chairs
  • End tables
  • Lamps
  • Coffee table
  • Kitchenware


  • Picture frames
  • Vase of flowers
  • Artwork
  • Keepsakes
  • Clock


  • Pajamas
  • Casual clothes for all types of weather
  • Formal attire for occasions
  • Sweaters, coats or jackets


  • Bathing soap
  • Oils
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Anything else the aging individuals feel is necessary

19. Organize Transportation for Valuables

If a senior wants to hire the services of a general or senior moving company to help with the transition, they need to compare the services and rates of different service providers before settling on the one to work with. It makes the process of moving much more comfortable because they will be working with a reliable and trustworthy mover that ensures their things get to their new assisted living home safely.

20. Prepare the Necessary Documentation

Retirees should also prepare documentation before enrolling into their preferred home. The documents may include a living and complete will. They are essential because quite often older adults go to the facilities and plan to stay there throughout their retirement.

21. Schedule Disconnection of Utility Services and Change of Address

A few weeks before finally going to their new living space, it helps to get post office change of address cards (or go online) and fill in the necessary details. While at it, the elderly should also schedule a disconnection of utility services where applicable so that they can transfer them to the new home.

If planning to sell the old home, retirees need to make the necessary arrangements to move their property off of the market fast enough so that it’s sold before their move.

Friends and relatives should offer seniors all the support they need take on the journey of the next phase of their life head-on. Moving to a new place is never easy, especially for seniors who may be forced to downsize and make tough decisions. Being equipped with the vital information above can help residents to settle in assisted living facilities much faster, allowing them to start having fun in their new homes from day one. Families should also involve the seniors in all the decision-making processes so that they end up in a residence that they love living in.



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