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Moving To Assisted Living: The Needs Assessment 101


One of the biggest life transitions that we help families walk through is the process of entering assisted living. While the task of downsizing and selling a lifelong home can be filled with its own unique set of challenges (which we conquer with pride and joy!), the equally daunting process is what’s on the other side. How can you ensure that the community you and your loved one select is right for them?


We have compiled a few helpful resources below to get you started on how to choose a facility, but the topic we would like to address in particular is that of the needs assessment. While we are 100% committed to helping mom or dad feel right at home in any setting, making sure their needs are met is largely dependent on the match between the facility and the family.


There is no single assessment that can determine if an assisted living facility (and which one) is right for your situation. But there are several ways in which the process can work.

  • Families may begin by requesting an assessment at a local hospital or clinic, or hire a professional at a geriatric assessment center. (There can be times where geriatric care assessments are covered by Medicare – be sure to ask your doctor or geriatric clinic!)  

  • A reputable community should complete their own in-person assessment. Some facilities use a point system to rank different types and ranges of behaviors. The more detailed the assessment, the more likely it is to determine the best fit of care.

  • Doctor’s notes can and should be required in addition to the assisted living facility’s own assessment process. They should NOT be relied upon alone without the staff meeting the potential resident.

What are the key areas that a needs assessment should address?

  • Orientation (person, place time) & consistency within it

  • Bathroom assistance and level of help needed (simple reminders vs. complete two-person lift)

  • Fall risk, likelihood & past incidences

  • Mobility within and outside of the home

  • The measure of activities of daily living such as meal preparation, medication management, bathing

  • Vision, hearing & nutritional components

  • Mental health status


Note that there is NO pass or fail for an assessment related to the care of a loved one. There is simply a desire to measure how to provide them with the tools for the very best and highest quality of life – while maintaining the highest levels of independence and offering access to help in the areas needed.  


Once you have found a community that fits the social, medical, financial and emotional needs of your loved one… we are determined to help make it HOME. With ways to re-purpose current possessions, create fun and functional floor plans and respect the needs and processes of the family and community – we consider it an honor to make every transition easier.


Helpful Resources


Aging Well: Steps to Move Into Assisted Living

Aging Care: Needs Assessment: The First Step When Moving To Senior Housing

Institute On Aging: What Is A Geriatric Care Assessment? What Aging Adults Can Expect

AARP: How do I know when I can no longer keep my loved one safe at home?’

Caring.Com: 11 Signs It Might Be Time for Assisted Living


Please contact us today no matter where you are at in the process of helping a loved one live life to its fullest! 


All our best,


Helen & Julie 

Helen Ingwersen