Residential Living Options

Residential Living Overview
Advice in Choosing an Assisted Living Facility
Additional Tips
Additional Resources

Residential Living Overview

Types of Care Options
The types of senior living options are as varied as seniors themselves. Below are general categories of care options. Many variations, combinations and hybrids also exist.

  • Independent Living
    Covers a broad spectrum that would include residential home, condominiums, apartments, townhomes, cottages, subsidized senior housing, etc.
    May or may not be age restricted.
    Appropriate for seniors who are able to live independently.
    Services may include security, activities, transportation, housekeeping, etc.
  • Retirement Community
    Provides a combination of living arrangement and other services that go beyond independent living. Services will likely include security, activities, transportation, housekeeping, some meals, and more.
  • Assisted Living
    Provides a combination of living arrangement, other services, and assistance with daily living functions such as dressing, hygiene and meal preparation. Services will likely include security, activities, transportation, housekeeping, daily living assistance (dressing, hygiene, meals), medication monitoring, 24-hour oversight, and more.
  • Adult Day
    Community-based group program to provide services during business hours (most common). Transportation to facility is usually not provided. Services may include security, activities, meals, medication administration, personal care, therapies, and medical oversight.
  • Nursing Facility
    Provides a combination of living arrangement and other services that go beyond assisted living. Services include security, meals, medical needs, nursing and personal care, psychosocial services, rehabilitation and 24-hour supervision. May also include activities.
  • Alzheimer’s Facility
    Provides a combination of living arrangement and other services that go beyond assisted living. Staff and care approach are geared toward memory impairment patients. Services will likely include security, meals, medical needs, nursing and personal care, psychosocial services, activities, rehabilitation and 24-hour supervision.


Advice in Choosing a Residential Living Facility

Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Provider Agreement/Policies

  • Do the admission criteria match my needs?
  • Have I reviewed the terms of the financial/provider agreement?
  • Is the unused portion of the rent refunded upon transfer/discharge?
  • Do I have a choice in the selection of medical/health care providers if additional services are needed?
  • Are the specific services offered clearly identified in the agreement?
  • Have I reviewed the house rules?
  • Have I reviewed all of the reasons for which I may be transferred of discharged?


  • Is the facility licensed by the state and in good standing?
  • Is the facility Medicaid certified?


  • Is the bedroom private or shared?
  • Is the bathroom private or shared?
  • Are the shared areas clean?
  • Is there space for personal belongings?
  • Does the floor plan allow for easy mobility for me?
  • Are there private areas other than the bedroom for visits?


  • Is bathroom safety equipment installed or available if needed? (grab bars, raised toilet seat)
  • Is there a call system?
  • Are walkers/wheelchairs permitted?
  • Are hallways and doorways wide enough for wheelchairs?

Care Plans

  • Am I involved in the care planning process?
  • Is my family/responsible party involved?
  • Is my physician or other health provider involved?
  • Are the care plans updated to reflect changes in care needs?

Personal Services

Does the facility provide:

  • Assistance with dressing?
  • Assistance with bathing?
  • How many times per weeks is bathing provided?
  • Assistance with toileting?
  • Assistance with incontinency? Does this include assistance with bowel and bladder?
  • Assistance with transfers from wheelchair to bed, etc.
  • Assistance with medications?


  • What is the operator/administrator’s training?
  • Do staff receive training to work with special needs or behaviors, such as dementia?
  • Is there high staff turn-over?
  • What is the ratio of staff to resident?
  • Are staff awake at night?


  • Are specialized diets available?
  • Are cultural or ethnic preferences considered?
  • Are residents involved in menu planning?
  • Can residents help with meal preparation and have access to the kitchen?
  • Are snacks/beverages readily available between meals?
  • Are extra helpings and substitutions available?


  • Are activities available within the facility?
  • Does the facility take residents on outings?
  • Is somebody designated to conduct activities?
  • Would my interests match the level/type of activities provided?
  • Are there residents I can socialize with?
  • Is there a written schedule of activities?
  • Does the facility provide transportation?


  • Does facility inform family/physician when an unusual event occurs?
  • Do you feel comfortable talking with the:
    - Administrator/Operator
    - Manager/Billing
    - Staff/Caregivers
  • Is the grievance procedure easily understood?
  • Is telephone use accessible and conducive to privacy?

Facility Tour/Observations

  • Have I toured the entire facility?
  • Have I observed the kitchen and pantry?
  • Have I observed a meal?
  • Does the atmosphere seem pleasant?
  • Does there seem to be enough staff available?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Do residents seem happy and engaged?
  • Do residents appear to be clean, groomed and odor-free?
  • Have I observed for staff/resident interaction?
  • Have I observed for cleanliness and odors?


Additional Tips & Resources

  • Trust your initial feelings and reactions.
  • Try not to make a hasty decision. There are many homes from which to choose.
  • Consider the location of the home. Your presence and involvement in the facility is important to the care your loved one receive.
  • Make an unannounced visit after your initial tour.
  • Talk to residents.
  • Ask for references.
  • Ask to take home copies of the admission packet and house rules.
  • Take the time to review the materials and, ask lots of questions.


Additional Resources


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