Assisted Living: What to Expect and What to Look For

What to Expect

The daily routine in an assisted living community strives to provide a “homelike environment”. These facilities are not limited to serving older people. Some serve younger people with special needs. This diversity in services and individuals makes each facility unique. Consumers should investigate all the available choices prior to signing a contract.

Three meals a day, activities and assistance in coordinating medical services are all reasonable to expect from adult care homes in North Carolina.

The following description is for Adult Care and Family Care Homes ONLY:

Care/Treatment and Services

  • Adult Care Homes and Family Care Homes have an administrator who is responsible for managing the facility. The Supervisor-in- Charge (SIC) oversees resident care on-site.
  • Personal care aides provide assistance to the resident. While trained, these aides do not have to be “certified”. The number of residents determine the number of aides on duty.
  • Full-time professional nurses are not required to be employed in adult care homes, although some have nurses on duty or use nurse consultants for aspects of training and resident care assessment. Individuals who give out the medicine are called “medication technicians” and have had to pass a state test to ensure their competence.
  • Upon admission, the resident will have an assessment of their medical and social needs that will be used to develop a plan of care.
  • Each resident is provided with a copy of facility policies and resident responsibilities including smoking, visitation and other matters.

What to Look for in an Assisted Living Setting


  • Clean, hair tidy, shaved, odor-free
  • Communicating with one another
  • Involved in activities
  • Satisfied with the care being provided


  • Ample, nutritious, tasty
  • Appropriate temperature
  • Menus posted, choice of foods


  • Interacting with residents in cheerful manner
  • Promptly responding to resident’s needs
  • Adequate number to ensure proper care for all residents
  • Administrator’s availability with staff supervision and resident’s needs

Physical Plant:

  • Clean environment, beds made, clean and adequate supply of linens
  • Absence of insects
  • No safety hazards
  • Safe conditions, ample lighting, draperies clean and hanging properly


  • Activities posted on calendar
  • Varied and interesting activities
  • Participation of residents in activities
  • Single focus, designated Activity staff person

Medical Services:

  • Type of staff on duty full time
  • On-going training hours provided by facility
  • On-site medical visits by doctor, and specialists (foot doctor, dentist, therapists)
  • Pharmacy service (Can your pharmacy provider accommodate the facility system?)
  • Special Care for residents with dementia