Woman searching on her computer for assisted living options & to set up an assisted living tour


When considering an assisted living community, the journey into a new life chapter for you or your family can be complex. Understanding which questions to ask senior living communities as you vet them can help you make the right choice for this part of your life.

Understanding Assisted Living Communities and Facilities

Start by ensuring you understand what an assisted living facility is and the range of care such communities provide. When you have a baseline understanding of assisted living facilities, you’re better able to evaluate what each has to offer.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities offer a range of personalized care and supportive services to support independent and safe living for older adults. Many communities strive to provide a vibrant lifestyle, with residents actively encouraged to participate in social, movement, cognitive and creative activities.

Assisted living is different from an independent senior living community. Independent living communities typically cater to fully independent seniors who don’t have health or well-being concerns that might require some level of care. Assisted living provides for unique needs, such as cooked meals for residents, support for medication management, dealing with chronic illnesses and options for on-site services such as physical therapy.

How to Choose the Right Assisted Living Community

Since care levels and services range widely, always ask an assisted living community director or staff member what to expect from a specific location. Some questions to ask include:

  • What range of services is offered?
  • How are staff trained?
  • What is overall resident satisfaction?
  • What programming is available?

The questions you ask will depend on your own needs and preferences. For example, if you have a chronic condition and are mostly concerned with the health care provided by the community, you may want to know if there’s an in-house physician. Family members of someone with early-stage dementia may want to know if the community offers memory care options.

Key Questions to Ask During Assisted Living Tours


An elderly woman discussing the monthly fee for a new resident of a senior living community


The sections below provide some specific questions you might want to ask an assisted living facility during consideration.

Understanding the Community and Its Residents

Start by considering how residents live and engage in the community. Some questions to get you started include:

  • How are new residents welcomed into the community?
  • Are they introduced to current residents and encouraged to take part in activities?
  • Do they work with a care team to create a written plan for any care that may be necessary?
  • How many residents live in the community?
  • Are they active in the surrounding community or neighborhood?
  • How does the community foster a sense of well-being and belonging?
  • Do current residents seem satisfied with the community?
  • What type of common spaces are provided for residents? These might include game rooms, community spaces, dining halls, libraries, exercise rooms and specialty options such as cafes or salons.
  • Are there outdoor spaces to enjoy and explore? For example, mobile seniors may want to walk short trails or sit in a garden.

Inquiring About Staff Members, Care Services and Doctor’s Appointments

The experience and knowledge of staff members are obviously important factors to consider. Ask questions such as:

  • What is the staff-to-resident ratio? If someone requires assistance with activities of daily living or memory care services, this ratio may need to be lower than in a community where everyone lives mostly independently.
  • When are staff available during the day, and how many staff members are present on-site at various times?
  • Are staff well-trained? Are there licensed healthcare professionals, such as nurses, on-site? This may be especially important for families of residents who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or another chronic condition.

Delving Deeper: Specific Areas to Explore


Group of happy couples that feel satisfied with Catered Living after searching many facilities for memory care options


Consider the type of amenities you need or prefer. Internet access, religious services, fitness centers and off-site transportation services are just a few amenities many senior living communities provide. However, every assisted living facility is unique, so ensure you ask specific questions to understand what’s offered.

Dining Program and Options

Dining options are an important consideration for many people. Find out if there’s a shared dining room where older adults can gather in fellowship during meal times and if meal service to rooms is provided for days when someone prefers to have their meal delivered.

Other questions to ask include:

  • How many meals are provided, and when? Do residents have to adhere to a meal schedule, or are there restaurant dining options that allow any-time meals and snacks?
  • Are there full kitchens or kitchenettes in the rooms? Are residents allowed to cook meals in a community kitchen if they want to host friends or family for an event?
  • Are special requests an option to meet food preferences or dietary needs?

Well-rounded dining options enhance residents’ quality of life and can contribute to overall health and wellness.

Activities Schedule and Resident Engagement

Ask about what activities are offered to new residents and whether there are monthly fees for each. Discuss a typical activity schedule to determine whether it aligns with your interests. You may also want to determine how much family involvement in activities is allowed.

Other questions about resident engagement include whether transportation services are provided for doctors’ appointments or cultural outings and how many current residents participate in provided activities.

Financial Considerations and Making an Informed Decision

Understanding the Financial Aspects

When considering an assisted living community, don’t hesitate to ask questions about finances. Some money-matters queries relevant to assisted living include:

  • What is the monthly cost for the assisted living facility, and what does it include? Does it cover meals, utilities, internet and other amenities, for example?
  • Is financial assistance available, and who might qualify?
  • What costs are associated with add-on amenities, if applicable?

Making an Informed Decision

Do as much research as possible to decide on choosing the right community for assisted living in Maryland. Ask about speaking to current residents to learn how others interact with the senior living environment and whether they’re satisfied.

Discover the Catered Living Difference: Your New Home Awaits

Contact Catered Living to learn more and schedule an assisted living tour to experience the assisted living community firsthand.