How to Find the Best Assisted Living Home for My Mom

How Do I Find the Best Assisted Living Home for My Mom?

If you and your mom have decided that it’s time to move to a senior living community, the next step is to find the right assisted living home for your mom. There’s a vast amount of information out there, along with many assisted living communities to choose from, so it’s common to feel overwhelmed when you begin the search. So how do you find the best assisted living home for your aging parent’s needs? We’ll break down the essential steps in this post.

1. Establish Your Budget

It’s a good idea to establish your budget before beginning your search. That way, you can avoid looking at assisted living homes that far exceed what your mom can afford. Will you or other family members be helping your mom cover the cost of assisted living? Does she have funds in retirement savings that she plans to use for assisted living? Does she have long-term care insurance? These are all important questions to ask. If she’ll be selling her family home, there may be profits from the sale that she can use to pay for assisted living as well.

2. Research Local Assisted Living Communities

The next step in finding the best assisted living home for your mom is to find out what assisted living communities are nearby. If your mom is considering moving to your city so that she can be closer to you (or so that you can more closely monitor the care she’s receiving), you’ll want to start your search there and gradually expand your search area depending on the distance you’re comfortable with.

Not sure where to begin your search? Here are a few ways to learn about the assisted living communities in your area:

3. Ask for Recommendations from Friends and Family

Chances are, you know someone who has a loved one in an assisted living home, so reach out to friends and extended family members and ask if they’re familiar with any of the assisted living homes on your list and if they’d recommend a specific community. Make a note next to any assisted living homes that friends or family members speak highly of.

4.  Make a List of Must-Have and Nice-to-Have Services & Amenities

Of course, the right assisted living home for one person might not be the right choice for your mom. Recommendations from friends or family members are valuable, but they shouldn’t be the only reason you choose an assisted living community. In fact, there are many things to consider when it comes to choosing a senior living community. That’s why you should discuss and make a list of must-have services and amenities as well as those that are nice to have but not deal-breakers.

For instance, are you concerned about what will happen if the assisted living home is no longer able to meet her needs? In this case, you might want to consider a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). With multiple levels of care, CCRC residents can move from one setting to another as their care needs change without leaving the place they’ve come to call home. That means your mom can move into the senior living home now, and should she require additional care later in life, move to the skilled nursing or memory care community on the same campus, in a setting that feels like home.

5. Narrow Your List

Now that you have a better idea of what your mom needs and wants in an assisted living home, you can start to narrow your list by crossing off any communities that are missing must-haves. You may have other criteria as well, such as whether you want to avoid assisted living homes that have more remote, rural locations to ensure that you can travel to her easily even in the event of inclement weather.

6. Review State Licensing Records

Assisted living communities are regulated by state governments, and the government agency that oversees assisted living licensing may differ from state to state. Reviewing records maintained by state licensing and inspection boards can be informative. For example, you might discover that a community you’re considering has had a significant number of violations in recent years, or you might find that an assisted living home has maintained an impeccable record.

The American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA NCAL) conducts a periodic review of assisted living regulations in each state. By clicking on your state’s summary, you’ll find an overview of the assisted living regulations in your state as well as information such as the agency’s website and contact information so you can reach out for additional details. maintains a similar resource with an easy-to-navigate menu and a summary of state laws such as minimum staffing ratios, staff training requirements, and inspection frequency and criteria.

7. Take Virtual Tours and Schedule In-Person Visits

After making any adjustments to your list based on your findings and decisions so far, it’s time to start exploring the assisted living homes that you’re seriously considering for your mom. Many senior living communities offer virtual tours so you can explore the community from the comfort of home before deciding whether to visit in-person.

Once you’ve taken an in-person tour of a few assisted living homes, your mom might have a clear favorite. If she’s torn between two or more great options, you can compare the services and amenities by creating a pros/cons list for each. You can also schedule second in-person visits to get a closer look at the day-to-day life in each community and maybe even chat with a few residents before making your final decision.

Common FAQs About Finding the Best Assisted Living Home

How much does assisted living typically cost, and what factors influence the price?

Assisted living costs vary widely, but are generally a few thousand dollars per month. Factors influencing price include location, room size, level of care needed, and amenities offered. Costs tend to be higher in urban areas and regions with a higher cost of living. Additional services or specialized care, such as memory care for dementia patients, can significantly increase the monthly fee.

What are the key differences between assisted living and other types of senior care, such as nursing homes or in-home care?

Assisted living provides a balance between independence and support, offering help with daily activities but not intensive medical care. Nursing homes, in contrast, provide 24/7 skilled nursing care for those with more complex medical needs. In-home care allows seniors to remain in their own homes but may be more limited in terms of social interaction and round-the-clock support. Assisted living often offers a more social environment and structured activities compared to in-home care, but less medical supervision than a nursing home.

How can I assess the quality of care and staff qualifications at an assisted living facility?

To assess care quality, review state inspection reports and ask about staff-to-resident ratios and staff turnover rates. Inquire about staff qualifications, including required certifications and ongoing training programs. Observe staff interactions with residents during your visit and ask current residents or their families about their experiences. Additionally, check if the facility has any special accreditations or awards that indicate high-quality care.

What are some common red flags to watch out for when visiting or evaluating assisted living communities?

Red flags may include strong odors, unkempt residents, unresponsive or discourteous staff, or signs of neglect in the facility’s maintenance. Be wary of high staff turnover, evasive answers to your questions, or resistance to unscheduled visits. Pay attention to the general atmosphere – if residents seem unhappy or disengaged, or if there’s a lack of activities and social interaction, these could be warning signs. Also, be cautious of facilities that pressure you to make a quick decision or seem reluctant to discuss costs and policies transparently.

How can I help my mother adjust to the transition to assisted living, both emotionally and practically?

To help your mother adjust, involve her in the decision-making process and respect her preferences. Visit frequently during the initial transition period and help her personalize her new living space with familiar items. Encourage her to participate in community activities and to form new social connections. Stay in regular contact with staff to address any concerns promptly. Be patient and understanding, as it may take time for her to feel comfortable in her new environment, and consider seeking support from a counselor or support group if she’s struggling emotionally with the change.

While finding the best assisted living home for your mom can seem overwhelming, following these steps will help you feel more organized throughout the process and weigh all the important considerations while making a decision. If you want the peace of mind of knowing that your mom’s care needs will be met throughout her life, continuing care retirement communities like Arbors of Hop Brook offer comprehensive care, ensuring that your mom will always have skilled nursing, memory care, or other care options available when she needs them. Browse our floor plans or take a virtual tour, learn about our comprehensive approach to wellness, and take a look at our community calendar to find out what types of activities your mom can engage in. When you’re ready, schedule a tour to experience the active, vibrant lifestyle at Arbors of Hop Brook in person.