Choosing an assisted living care center that best suits the individual needs of your loved one can be challenging. It requires keen observation, critical thinking, and a touch of gut intuition. Knowing what to look for and the right questions to ask can help you navigate this often-daunting process. Here is a primer to help you get started.

When Do I Begin Looking?

The quality of care a loved one receives in an assisted living facility is of chief importance. To make a hasty decision, or to try and rush through it is a disservice to everyone involved. With this in mind, the sooner you start looking, the better. Ideally, plan to start looking at least six months to a year in advance of the prospective move-in date.

The Internet can be a great resource for doing some preliminary research before you start touring the various care centers. offers a by-city directory of available facilities complete with directions, web address and telephone number. and also offer a similar service.

Other resources:

The Minnesota Department of Health has an online database of their assisted living review results for facilities throughout the state. is another search option. And this one has customer reviews.
Top Ten Tips for Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

Now that you’ve narrowed your search down to a handful of care centers in your area it’s time to hit the road. This is where the real work comes in. Being extra vigilant and attentive in both your conversations with staff and residents, as well as to your surroundings: any small detail might inform the decision you make and will pay off in finding the right fit for you and your loved one., a senior living advisor service that provides “no-charge-to-families” advice and background checks on facilities, provides a list of some of the most important things to consider when choosing your assisted living facility, including the level of cleanliness and staff friendliness. To read the list, find their article here:

It may seem overwhelming while you’re in the thick of it, but spending the time necessary to ensure you’ve made the right decision for your loved one is time well spent.