When choosing a dementia / Alzheimer’s care facility, there are a number of factors to consider, including the staff, the facility, the programs and the type of treatment residents receive. Use this checklist when considering a facility:

Family Involvement

  • Families are encouraged to participate in care planning
  • Families are informed of changes in resident’s condition and care needs
  • Families are encouraged to communicate with staff


  • Medical care is provided
  • Personal care and assistance is provided
  • Staff recognize persons with dementia as unique individuals, and care is personalized to meet specific needs, abilities and interests
  • Staff is trained in dementia care
  • Physicians and nurse practitioners on premises and registered nurse on site at all times
  • Staff can handle challenging behaviors
  • Ratio of residents to staff

Programs and Services

  • Appropriate services and programming based on specific health and behavioral care needs are available
    Planned activities take place (ask to see activity schedule; note if the activity listed at the time of your visit is occurring)
  • Activities are available on the weekends or during evenings
  • Activities are designed to meet specific needs, interests and abilities
  • Transportation is available for medical appointments and shopping for personal items
  • Care planning sessions are held regularly
  • Therapies available such as physical, occupational, speech and recreational
  • Religious services and celebrations available to residents


  • Personal care is done with respect and dignity; personal care times flexible, based on individual’s schedule
  • Residents are comfortable, relaxed and involved in activities
  • Residents are well-groomed, clean and dressed appropriately
  • Rate of falls for residents
  • Residents with psychiatric illness as their primary diagnosis on the same unit as residents with dementia


  • Facility is free of unpleasant odors
  • Indoor space allows for freedom of movement and promotes independence
  • Indoor and outdoor areas are safe, secure and monitored
  • The facility is easy to navigate
  • There is a designated family visiting area
  • Resident rooms are clean and spacious
  • Residents are allowed to bring familiar items with them, such as photos, bedding a chair


  • There are regular meal and snack times
  • Food is appetizing (ask to see the weekly menu and come for a meal)
  • The dining environment is pleasant
  • Family and friends are able to join at mealtime
  • Staff have a plan for monitoring adequate nutrition
  • Staff are able to provide for any special dietary needs
  • Staff provide appropriate assistance based on person’s abilities (for example, encouragement during meals or assisted feeding in advanced stages)
  • There are no environmental distractions during meal time (noisy TV etc.)

Policies and Procedures

  • Family and friends able to participate in care
  • Visiting hours work for the family
  • Discharge policy has been discussed (learn about any situation or condition that would lead to discharge from the facility, such as change in behavior or financial circumstances)
  • As residents needs change, availability of continuing care
  • Aging in place policy where residents can remain in the facility, even in the same room, throughout the course of the disease
  • Escort to the emergency room if a visit is required
  • Available end-of-life, hospice care