2235 Rockwood Ave W, St Paul, MN 55116
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Senior Living Checklist

Use this checklist from the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) when visiting an Assisted Living Residence:


  • Good location and outward appearance.
  • Attractive and homelike décor.
  • Residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable.
  • Residents seem to be appropriate house mates for you or your loved one.
  • Staff are appropriately dressed, personable, and outgoing.
  • Staff members treat each other in a professional manner.
  • Visits with the residents are welcome at any time.

Physical Features

  • Community is well designed for residents’ needs.
  • The floor plan is easy to follow.
  • Doorways, hallways, and rooms are accommodating to wheelchairs and walkers.
  • Elevators are available for those unable to use stairways.
  • Hand rails are available to aid in walking.
  • Cupboards and shelves are easy to reach.
  • Floors are of a non-skid material and carpets are firm to ease walking.
  • Has good natural and artificial lighting.
  • Is clean, free of odors, and appropriately heated/cooled.
  • Meets local and/or state licensing requirements.
  • Has sprinklers and clearly marked exits.
  • Has a means of security if a resident wanders.

Needs Assessments, Contracts, Costs, And Finances

  • A contract agreement is available that discloses health-care and supportive services, all fees, and admission and discharge criteria.
  • There is a written plan for the care of each resident.
  • Residence has a process for assessing a potential resident’s need for services and for ensuring those needs are addressed periodically.
  • The process includes the resident, his or her family, and facility staff, along with the potential resident’s physician.
  • Staff is available to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs.
  • Billing, payment and credit policies seem fair and reasonable.
  • Ask these questions about contracts and payments:
    • When may a contract be terminated and what are the refund policies?
    • Are there any government, private, or corporate programs available to help cover the cost of services to the resident?
    • Are additional services available if the resident’s needs change? If so, is there a procedure to pay for additional services like nursing care when the services are needed on a temporary basis?
    • Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
    • Are residents required to purchase renters’ insurance for personal property in their units?
  • Determine whether residents can handle their own finances with staff assistance if able, or if a family member or outside party should be designated to do so.

Medication & Health Care

  • Residence has specific policies regarding storage of medication, assistance with medications, training and supervision of staff, and record keeping.
  • Is self-administration of medication allowed?
  • A staff person is available to coordinate home care visits from a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, etc if needed.
  • Staff is available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or judgement losses.
  • A physician or nurse visits the resident regularly to provide medical checkups.
  • Residence has a clearly stared procedure for responding to resident’s medical emergency.
  • To what extent are medical services available and how are they provided?


  • A list of available services is provided. Staff is available to provide 24-hour service with activities of daily living (ADLs) if needed. ADLs include:
    • Dressing
    • Eating
    • Mobility
    • Hygiene and grooming
    • Bathing, toileting, and incontinence
    • Using the telephone
    • Shopping
    • Laundry
  • Residence provides housekeeping services in residents’ units.
  • Residence provides transportation to doctor’s offices, the hairdresser, shopping, and other activities desired by residence.
  • Are pharmacy, barber/beautician and or physical therapy services offered on site?
  • Can residents arrange for transportation on fairly short notice?

Individual Unit Features

  • Different sizes and types of units are available.
  • Are units for single and double occupancy available?
  • Do residents have their own lockable doors?
  • 24-hour emergency response system is accessible from the unit.
  • Bathrooms are private with accommodations for wheelchairs and walkers.
  • Residents can bring their own furnishings for their unit. What may they bring?
  • Do all units have a telephone and cable TV?
    • How is billing for those services handled?
  • Is a kitchen area/unit provided with a refrigerator, sink, and cooking element?
  • May residents keep food in their units?
  • May residents smoke in their units? In public places?
  • May residents decorate their own units?

Social & Recreation Activities

  • There is evidence of an organized activities program, such as a posted daily schedule, events in progress, reading materials, visitors, etc.
  • Do residents participate in activities outside of the residence in the neighboring community?
  • Do volunteers, including family members, come into the residence to help with or conduct programs?
  • Does the residence create a sense of community by requiring residents to participate in certain activities or perform simple chores for the group as a whole?
  • Are residents’ pets allowed in the residence? Who is responsible for their care?
  • Does the residence have its own pets?

Food Service

  • Do dining room menus vary from day to day and meal to meal?
  • Three nutritionally balanced meals are provided each day, seven days a week.
  • Are snacks available?
  • May a resident request special foods?
  • Are common dining areas available?
  • May residents eat meals in their units?
  • May meals be provided at a time a resident would like or are there set times for meals?

In addition to this checklist, look for a general philosophy of care based on 10 principles that make assisted living residents the top priority.

  • Offering cost-effective quality care personalized to the individual’s needs.
  • Fostering independence for each resident.
  • Treating each resident with dignity and respect.
  • Promoting the individuality of each resident.
  • Allowing each resident choice of care and lifestyle.
  • Protecting each resident’s right to privacy.
  • Nurturing the spirit of each resident.
  • Involving family and friends in care planning and implementation.
  • Providing a safe, residential environment.
  • Making the assisted living residence a valuable community asset.