Check out the other residents: talk to some residents and see how happy and content they are. Listen carefully to any concerns or complaints, ask how long they've lived there, and pay attention to their grooming and overall appearance. Ask about security features: make sure the community is well protected, look for cameras, and see if there's an open door policy or if visitors must check in when they enter the main buildings. Make sure the outside is well lit and cameras are in place and active. Look for cleanliness: check the baseboards and corners and follow your nose. Make sure the common areas are clean and comfortable and odors aren't masked by heavy scents and sanitizers. Eat a meal: join the residents in the common dining room and ask for a copy of the menu. Make sure there's a variety of daily choices, the food is well prepared, and the residents enjoy their meals and the companionship of others. Ask to tour the kitchen and look for signs of neglect or low-quality ingredients. Tour an apartment: bring your tape measure so you can determine whether the area is large enough for the furniture it will hold. Make sure the living quarters are comfortable and easy to maneuver, and private yet easily accessible to staff. Watch the staff: the employees at an assisted living community are vital to the happiness of the residents. Note whether they treat the seniors with respect, take the time to listen, and interact naturally rather than with a forced demeanor. Ask a couple of residents which is their favorite staff member and why, and who they like the least and why, and pay attention to the answers! Sit in on an activity: whether it's a gym workout, craft session, or group game, you should sit in on an activity and see how much the residents interact and enjoy their time. Determine the levels of care: while your parent may be independent and active now you should ask what levels of care are available and how the staff determines a change of level. Ask for a cost estimate for the different levels of care your parent may progress through so you can make future financial decisions as they arise. Examine the records: look for the health department inspection and ask how many accidents or emergencies have occurred in the past year. Check for any violations of health or safety and make sure they were corrected in a timely manner. Get a breakdown of services and costs: make sure you know ahead of time what services are and are not included in the basic rent. Housekeeping, laundry, and transportation are examples of items that may be added costs to your parent's basic fees. Follow your instincts: above all, follow your gut feelings. If an assisted living campus looks, smells, and sounds great but you have a nagging feeling there's something off you're probably right. You don't have to delete it from your list immediately but mark it as requiring a more in-depth look at a later date.