How to Evaluate an Assisted Living Facility

The process of finding an assisted living center or memory care community for your loved one can be daunting. With hundreds of senior housing and nursing home communities in the Los Angeles area, it is important to know what questions to ask and what to consider when choosing a center for your loved one. Sarah Ordover, owner of Assisted Living Locators Los Angeles and certified in dementia care, is a trained aging specialist who holds an assisted living manager license from the RCFE. She provides some useful tips on how to evaluate an assisted living facility.

First, it is important to evaluate your needs. Consider what type of care your loved one requires and if the facility offers specialized services for people with dementia, sometimes called memory care. Just over 14 percent of assisted living centers have a special unit, wing or floor for memory care, and another 8.7 percent only accept patients with dementia. Second, take a tour of the facilities.

Assisted living centers often provide residents with their own apartments or rooms, as well as some common areas. During the tour, ask questions about staff members, including their qualifications and if they receive additional training at the center. It is also important to study the rates and the contract. Find out what types of activities are offered and if the state's regulations for assisted living facilities are found on the National Assisted Living Center website.

Third, consider if the facility provides a “rich social environment in which residents can have a great interaction that is beneficial to their health and mental well-being” as stated by Reeves. Assisted living centers are designed for older people who can no longer lead independent lives and need help with daily activities, such as bathing or dressing, but do not need the ongoing medical care that a nursing home would provide. Finally, find out if VA health care covers any additional services or if the aid and assistance benefit can help pay for assisted living. VA health care doesn't pay for room and board at an assisted living facility, but it may cover some additional services.

Choosing an assisted living facility for your loved one can be a difficult decision. It is important to evaluate your needs, take a tour of the facilities, study the rates and contract, find out what types of activities are offered, and consider if VA health care covers any additional services before making a decision.