Choosing the right assisted living community is a highly personal choice that you should make carefully. Take your time to go through the options available to you, as this is an important decision that should not be taken lightly.

The first step should be to tour the facility that you’re considering so you can start to develop a picture of its environment and culture. Take the opportunity to meet the staff, learn how they operate, and picture what your day might look like living there. Verify that the state certification and appropriate licenses for your level of care are in place.

Ask questions to determine whether the facility provides quality care with friendly staff to ensure that all of your needs will be met. Pay attention to how engaged and experienced the staff members and management team may be, especially if your visit is unannounced. Keep in mind that you may want to inquire about or visit a few communities to get a better idea of what’s available in your area.

Of course, you’ll also want to gather precise information regarding fees and pricing structures. Make sure you get approximately the same information from each facility so you’ll be able to make accurate comparisons.

Observe whether the space is clean, neat, and free of odors. Also, do you feel like the community is one you’d enjoy living in? If the opportunity presents itself, speak with some of the residents to see how they feel about living there. Finally, check an institution’s online reviews or Better Business Bureau rating if those items are applicable.

Thoughtful research, planning, and comparison will give you the data that you need to make the most informed decision for your future care. Getting answers to some of these key questions can help you sift through your choices to find the best possible fit for your situation.