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Assisted Living

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a special combination of housing and support services designed to respond to the individual needs of people who need help with the activities of daily living but do not need the skilled medical care provided in a nursing home. Assisted living care promotes maximum independence and dignity for each resident and encourages the involvement of the resident's family and friends.

What to Consider in Assessing an Assisted Living Facility

As You Tour the Home

As you arrive do you like the location and outward appearance of the home? As you enter the foyer and tour the residence, is the decor attractive and homelike? Did you and the potential resident receive a warm greeting from staff welcoming you to the home? Does the administrator or staff call residents by name and interact warmly with them? Do residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable? Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the home and staff? Are visits to the home welcome at any time? Is the residence clean, free of odors, and appropriately heated or cooled? Does the residence meet local and state licensing requirements?

Needs Assessments, Contracts, Costs and Finances

What is the procedure for assessing a potential resident's need for services and are those needs reassessed periodically? Can a resident be discharged for refusing to comply? When may a contract be terminated and what are the refund policies? Is a contractual agreement available to include accommodations, personal care, and support services? Are additional services available if the residents needs change? Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services? What are the billing and payment policies? If able, may residents handle their own finances with staff assistance, or should a family member or outside party be designated to do so? What personal property is covered by the facility's insurance? Is staff available to meet unscheduled needs such as emergency housekeeping or hygiene?

Health Care

What is the policy regarding storage and assistance with medications. Is staff trained and supervised in medication administration and record keeping? Who coordinates home care visits from a nurse, physical therapist or occupational therapist, if needed? Are staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or judgment losses? What is the procedure for responding to a resident's medical emergency?

Food Services

Are menus designed and approved by a registered dietician? Are three nutritionally balanced meals per day, seven days per week provided? Are snacks available upon request? Are special dietary needs accommodated and restrictions monitored? May residents select from a variety of foods at each meal? May a resident request special foods? May meals be provided at a time the resident requests or are meals served in a congregate setting?

Features of Individual Facilities

Are rooms for single and double occupancy available? May residents bring their own furnishings for their room and what may they bring? May residents smoke? Where?

Services of Individual Facilities

Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living (dressing, eating, mobility, hygiene and grooming, bathing, shopping, laundry, transportation to doctor, hair dresser, etc.)?

As you compare Assisted Living homes, we hope this checklist will assure you that the Assisted Living residence you choose will be one that meets your needs.

Additional Resources

Check out the listing of Assisted Living facilities in Baltimore County licensed for five or more residents, or use the Assisted Living Facility Search from the Maryland Health Care Commission's Guide to Assisted Living Facilities. For additional information, email

Revised March 28, 2019         


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