Assisted Living Communities

Assisted Living Communities are a great option for seniors who no longer wish to live alone or who are unable to live alone but would benefit from assistance with meals, housekeeping, transportation, or grooming. Assisted Living Communities provide a homelike setting and allow maximum independence based on an individual’s abilities.

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In West Virginia, assisted living residences consist of two types – small assisted living residences with a bed capacity of four to 16 and large assisted living residences with a bed capacity of 17 or more. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources licenses all Assisted Living Communities, but they are not certified to participate in the Medicaid program.

Services usually include:

• assistance with a few activities of daily living;

• individualized nutritional services;

• 24-hour security;

• on-site staff response to emergencies;

• housekeeping and laundry services;

• social and recreational programs;

• housing for individuals requiring minimal medical care;

• apartment-like accommodations;

• arranged transportation services;

• on-site fitness centers, styling salon services, and other amenities;

• limited and intermittent nursing care.

Payment Options:

Assisted Living Communities require private payment. Neither Medicare nor West Virginia’s Medicaid program pays for Assisted Living Communities.

Assisted Living Community Checklist

Printable version

Living Space and Accommodations

_______ Are there adequate community areas for resident use?

_______ Are the resident rooms furnished or unfurnished?

_______ What is the policy about personal belongings?

_______ What is the policy for overnight guests? Are guestrooms available? What are the guest fees?

_______ Is additional storage space available? Is there an extra fee?

_______ Will I be able to access all parts of the building easily?

_______ Can I have a car? Is free parking available?

_______ Are patios and courtyards available for my use?

_______ Is an area available for resident gardening?

_______ Is there 24-hour security?

_______ Are pets allowed to live in my residence? If so, are additional fees and/or deposits required? If not, are pets allowed to visit?


_______ What are the community’s staffing patterns?

_______ What training and qualifications are required for the staff?

_______ Is a criminal background check performed on all staff members before they are hired?

_______ Do staff members participate in training programs?

_______ Observe staff and resident interactions. Are they positive? Courteous?

_______ Is the staff approachable?

_______ Ask other residents whether staff members handle resident requests in a timely way.

_______ Can private-duty companions be hired? What is the procedure for that type of service?

_______ Does the facility have a volunteer program? If yes, what types of activities do the
               volunteers perform?

_______ Ask residents whether the administrator/director practices an “open-door” policy.

Service Planning

_______ Will my family and I be involved in the service-planning process? How often will my needs be assessed? Who completes the assessment?

_______ Do special programs exist for memory-impaired residents and residents with dementia? Are special accommodations made for these residents to be outside and exercise?

_______ Does the facility provide special programs for residents with my condition?

_______ How are emergency situations managed? What is the protocol for such events?

_______ What happens if my health care needs change? Under what conditions will I be asked to move?

Services and Activities

_______ Do staff members assist residents in administering medication? If so, who does that?

_______ Does the community use a particular pharmacy? Will that pharmacy accept my insurance or my Medicare Part D prescription drug plan? Does the pharmacy provide a yearly review of my medications?

_______ Are professional nursing services available on site? If not, will the staff assist me in making arrangements through a home health agency?

_______ Are the services of a physical, occupational or speech therapist available or arranged?

_______ Does the community provide bed linens and towels?

_______ Does the community provide laundry service?

_______ Are beauty shop services available on site?

_______ What recreational and spiritual activities are available? Obtain or review a copy of the activities calendar.

_______ Are activity supplies available for my use at any time?

_______ Is transportation provided for medical appointments and recreational purposes? Is there a fee?

_______ Does the community have a resident or family council? How often do they meet?

_______ What is the procedure for making a suggestion or complaint?

_______ Are hospice services available? If so, does the facility coordinate that care with my physician and family?

Moving In

_______ What does the process of moving in entail?

_______ What are the paperwork requirements and the time frames involved?

_______ Does the community provide any assistance with the move-in?

_______ Can I paint my room or put up a border on the walls before I move in?

_______ How is my initial health assessment managed? Who completes the assessment?

_______ Is the community affiliated with a hospital or nursing home? Will I receive priority in the admission process if I need acute care or long-term care?

_______ Will my room be held if I need to go to the hospital or a nursing home for a short stay? What are the associated fees? Will I receive a discount for unused services (e.g., meals)?

_______ Does the community subscribe to a set of resident rights and responsibilities? Are printed copies of resident rights and responsibilities available?

Costs and Fees

_______ What is included in the basic monthly cost? Ask for a written copy of the contract.

_______ Does the community have a written schedule of fees for extra services? If so, request a copy.

_______ Under what circumstances might the fees change? How much notice is given if fees increase?

_______ Is a security deposit required? What is the refund policy?

_______ Can service agreements and/or contracts be amended or modified?

Dining and Food Services

_______ Does the community accommodate special diets?

_______ Does a dietician or nutritionist review the menus? Request a copy of the menus.

_______ How often do the menus rotate? Are residents and families involved in the menu planning?

_______ Are residents allowed to have guests for meals? Is there a fee?

_______Does the community have a separate guest dining room? Can my family plan a party or special meal in a private dining room?

_______ Are meals/snacks available at any time?

_______ What are the criteria for residents to eat meals in their rooms?

Licensure and Certification

_______ Is the community licensed? Ask to review the last Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification survey report.

_______ Does the staff actively participate in a professional association, such as the state long-term care association or the West Virginia Health Care Association?


_______ Does the community have a fire sprinkler system throughout its buildings?

_______ Where are smoke detectors located?

_______ How often does the community have fire drills?

_______ Does the community have an emergency preparedness plan?

_______ How are emergency and evacuation plans reviewed with residents after admission to reinforce their memory?

_______ What systems are used to keep residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s from wandering out of the buildings and away from the community?


_______ Is the residence convenient to shopping, medical services and entertainment areas?

_______ Can family members and visitors easily locate and access the community for visiting?

Assisted Living Related Links

National Center for Assisted Living

West Virginia Health Care Association