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5 Traits the Best Assisted Living Facilities Share

The atmosphere and amenities offered in assisted living facilities varies widely from one community to the next. The notion of assisted living as an “old folks home” is outdated and largely inaccurate.

Today's living arrangements for older adults reflect the interests and personalities of their inhabitants. Niche assisted living communities exist to cater to the cultural backgrounds, aesthetic sensibilities, and preferred lifestyles of residents.

Assisted living facilities offer a variety of options
Common areas let residents enjoy activities of their choice.

The Range of Amenities

The concept behind assisted living is to ensure that a person's quality of life can be maintained for as long as possible in a comfortable, safe environment.




This basic belief in honoring the lives of community residents largely explains the variety of options available for assisted living. From very simple, straightforward floor plans and bare-bones amenities for those who prefer a simple life to extravagant resort-like living for those with a taste for the finer things, there is something for everyone.

The Common Denominators in the Best Assisted Living Facilities

Regardless of the level of amenities offered, the best assisted living communities share some common traits:

1) They provide intuitive, individualized care to residents.

One of the primary goals of moving a loved one to assisted living is ensuring that he or she will have access to kind, compassionate care regardless of what level of assistance is needed. The best communities guarantee this care by a good resident-to-staff ratio and an individualized plan for each resident which is adjusted at regular intervals as life circumstances change.  Some states require minimum staffing levels, while others require that facilities staff according to the needs of the residents.

2) They are clean and safe for residents.

Cleanliness in an assisted living environment is non-negotiable. To protect the health and safety of all residents, the best assisted living communities invest in property maintenance, a quick-to-respond janitorial staff, and staff members who give meticulous care to their own personal hygiene as well as the grooming and hygiene of residents.

RELATED: Best Assisted Living in Portland Oregon

3) They are designed to feel like home.

For many of the residents of assisted living communities, the move from home is one of the most traumatic events of their later years. Great communities lessen that trauma by creating a home-like atmosphere to make residents feel more at ease.

Cheerfully decorated and comfortably appointed living areas ease the transition for residents. Additionally, common areas that are inviting such as libraries, game rooms, and dining areas make assisted living communities feel like pleasant neighborhoods.

4) They welcome family and friends.

Understanding that family and friends play a vital role in resident emotional well-being, great assisted living communities welcome visitors. From scheduled activities to which family members are specifically invited to impromptu visits, good communities encourage positive family interaction.

Assisted living facilities offer plenty of activities to keep residents engaged
Great communities enable residents to pursue their hobbies.

5) They allow residents to pursue things that feed their soul.

From social clubs to individual yard space for the avid gardener, the best assisted living communities offer opportunities for older adults to pursue their passions.

Continuing education classes, exercise classes, arts and crafts, transportation to local cultural events, and backyard barbecues are all things that you might see in a great assisted living community.

RELATED: Best Assisted Living New York

The variety of options for assisted living is virtually limitless, and as Baby Boomers enter their retirement years, that trend is likely to continue. As you contemplate the options available, be sure to check out our additional information about senior housing for great tips to aid your search.



42 Comments

  1. I like how you point out that it’s important to look at the overall cleanliness of an assisted living facility before choosing it. My mother-in-law is likely going to be needing to live in an assisted living facility in the near future, so this is good to know. We’ll make sure to look at the overall cleanliness of the facility before helping our mother-in-law decide if it’s right for her.

  2. My grandmother now wishes to live in an assisted living community. These practical tips were helpful in determining on where we should take her. Thank you for this wonderful article.

  3. Something that I never took into consideration when it comes to finding a roofing contractor is that we want a company that has a permanent place of business. It’s good to know that this will help us to determine if they are people that can be trusted and that they are legit. Our roof is in need of some repairs and it will be great to know that the people we hire will work well for us.

  4. Finding good senior care is on my list of things to do. My dad is getting too old to try and take care of himself for everything. When we go looking for a facility, I’ll remember the traits you have here, especially the one about finding a place that feels like home.

  5. My great uncle is having a hard time looking after himself and we think that an assisted living center could highly benefit him. It is helpful to know that one should select a center that allows residents to pursue things that feed their soul. I like the example of providing individual yard space for the avid gardener. We will have to present this option to my great uncle.

  6. My grandmother has been fighting the idea of moving to a senior home for a long time now. One of her problems is that she thinks it won’t feel like home. So, I liked that one thing you talked about was how they are made to feel like a real home.

  7. I appreciate the information on assisted living facilities and what to look for in them. I agree that it is important that the assisted living home is designed to feel like a real home, this can really help to comfort those who are living there. My mom is looking for an assisted living home for my grandpa, I will be sure to share these tips with her.

  8. I really like your comment about the importance of ensuring that an assisted living facility will allow their residents access to kind and compassionate care regardless of what level of assistance they require. I would think that it would be a good idea to look into what sorts of medical care options are provided (and how they are provided) at various homes before choosing one for your parent to move into. It could b e a good idea to read up on reviews left by the families of other residents when trying to find a home that you think will take good care of your parent.

  9. You mentioned that niche assisted living communities exist to cater to the cultural backgrounds, aesthetic sensibilities, and preferred lifestyles of residents. My mom just celebrated her 75th birthday and has been having a hard time getting around her house. Do they offer different options for people depending on their current condition?

  10. My family has been taking care of my father for a while now and we’ve been considering moving him to an assisted living facility. I absolutely love what you said about making sure that the facility provides individualized health care to our loved ones. Dad has some complicated health issues and knowing that he was being carefully assisted with those would bring lots of comfort to our family. Loved the post.

  11. This is definitely worth a read! I think the most important factor is ensuring that the resident feels like home, you want your loved ones to be living in comfortable and pleasant environment.

  12. A facility that understand the importance of family and allows family visits is really important. You don’t want a place that is going to feel like a prison.

  13. I think it is nice how these facilities allow visitors at any time to come and visit. I also love how they are getting taken care of 24/7. I also like how they are regularly cleaned for them. I appreciate the reassurance.

  14. Assisted living can be great for some people. It can be difficult to make the transition. I agree with you live in a place that feels like home because it would be more comfortable.

  15. Thanks for this helpful post on the 5 traits that the best assisted living facilities share. My family is getting to the point of deciding where we are going to have our father live. I really like what you said about how a good facility is designed to feel like home. I want my father to feel comfortable in his new house. I also like what you said about making sure that they are allowed to have visitors. Thanks for the help!

  16. My grandmother’s assisted living home was great because they were very open about families visiting their loved ones. It was also a great environment; deep into the countryside with plenty of space for the residents to explore their own interests. I think places like that are the best. Thank you for sharing these traits.

  17. My grandpa is having a hard time living on his own. Thanks for the advice about how the best assisted living facilities are designed to feel like home and welcome family and friends. I’ll have to be sure that we find a good assisted living facility that also has great medical help.

  18. I think that your third point is really important. It must be unsettling to be in a completely different environment, and the right facilities understand that and act accordingly. I think that the faculty is very instrumental in this aspect. These people of the power to determine whether the patient feels welcome and at home or not. Thank you for an interesting article!

  19. I like how you said that the best assisted-living communities invest in property maintenance. This is a great clue to how your loved one will be treated at that facility. By having a nicely kept landscape and building, they are saying that this is a place for happy and cared for people. Thanks for the tips.

  20. My mother is losing her memory and can no longer live on her own. Thanks for the advice about how good care communities are designed to feel like home and allow residents to pursue their passions. Hopefully, we can find a good place for my mom to live where we can visit her a lot.

  21. A common problem, people probably faced, they don’t know which sort of assisted living facility are they in need of. They need care specialist services to choose the best option for them. Last year i hired a care specialist for my mother and after discussing matters with my MOM, we choose right assisted living for her. She is now very happy in her new home.

  22. Providing individualized care for their patrons is something I would really look for too. There really isn’t a one size fits all solution to keep people engaged and cared for, so you need to figure out what makes each person happy. I’m on the process of looking for an assisted living facility, so I’ll have to take a tour and see what exactly they do to help keep everyone comfortable. Thanks for the awesome info!

  23. These are great things to look for. I used to volunteer at an assisted living center and it was great. It was always welcoming to guests and family which was great for the residents.

  24. I think it’s a great idea for assisted living facilities to allow residents to continue their passions. Whether it be gardening, exercise, or painting, they should be able to pursue those passions. I will definitely keep that in mind when looking for a place with my dad. Thank you for the information!

  25. Being able to have “…opportunities for older adults to pursue their passions” while in assisted living does seem to be a good trait. My grandparents are getting to that age where they need extra help for daily tasks. I think it would be a good idea for them to look into services like this. However, we want to make sure they are happy, you know? Thanks for explaining the good things that quality facilities.

  26. I think one of the first things to look for in an assisted living home is how personalized it is to their residents. Second is how well they encourage family to visit. This is probably not something you would find at every assisted living home, but I know that my grandpas let me bring my dog with me to visits. It definitely meant I visited more often, and my grandpa loved seeing my dog.

  27. I really liked the insight you gave about the assisted living home being designed to feel like home. As you say, moving out of their home could be a very traumatic experience for these seniors, so making sure that the community is welcoming and easy going will help make this transition that much easier, and I completely agree. Plus, it will ensure that these people are able to comfortably live the rest of their lives and ensure that they continually have a above average quality of life. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Most of the senior living facilities that I go to are a little sad to see. Most of the time its the staff that brings me down, most caregivers are very unmotivated and resentful of the job. If it was up to me, I would do all I could to help the caregivers love their job and care for the residents as best they could.

  29. These are great things to follow while looking for a place for a loved one to live in when the time has come. I really like the last trait you have given. Allowing someone to pursue their hobbies will make a resident feel at home and that is something a family member should be looking for in their search.

  30. Thanks for this helpful post on good traits for an assisted living facility. It will really come in handy because I am trying to find a place for my father. I like what you put about them being designed to feel like home. it would really mean a lot to me for my father to feel comfortable and at home. Thanks for the help!

  31. I agree that a great nursing home needs to welcome family and friends. If it is not open to visitors it raises concern. I think it is important to visit the elderly often.

  32. I agree that it’s important to make sure that assisted living facilities have enough staff, but I don’t know what a good resident-to-staff ratio looks like. Are there any guidelines out there (beyond state minimum staffing levels)? I feel like 1 staff member for every 2-5 residents would probably be a good ratio but I don’t know because I’ve never been in an assisted living facility or had family members who have had to be in one until now.

  33. My grandma just moved into an assisted living facility and she really enjoys it. She really likes the range of amenities that the facility provides, because they allow her to live a somewhat normal lifestyle. She also loves the friends that she is making there and is always introducing them to us whenever we go and visit her. I really think that the best quality of any assisted living place is that it is a place that is comfortable and doesn’t feel like a hospital as some do.

  34. That time for us to put my grandma into assisted living has come. It wasn’t an easy choice, but she is at point where we can’t properly take care of her and can’t always be there to make sure she doesn’t hurt herself. But I feel that if we can find an assisted living facility that is clean and provides individualized care for her, it won’t be as bad as we think it will.

  35. These are some really good tips about good things to look for in an assisted living facility. My grandmother had a really bad fall a few weeks ago, and my family is thinking it is time to put her in a nursing home. So, I liked what you said that the best places will offer individual care for their patients. My family is going to have to be on the look out for places like that during our search.

    1. I have learned so much about places for our moms/grandparents after having my Mom is one. I would love to share what I have learned.
      Pat

  36. I think it’s good they are designed to feel like home. My grandparents didn’t want to leave their home, at first. Now they love their new place in assisted living. They have also made friends and they didn’t have too many when they were at their old home. So I think assisted living has been great for them.

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