Division of Health Facilities Evaluation and Licensing

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Assisted Living in New Jersey


Guide For Choosing....


Use the following as a guide when visiting the AL community.


As you arrive at the residence, do you like its location and outward appearance?

As you enter the lobby and tour the residence, is the décor attractive and homelike?

Did you receive a warm greeting from staff welcoming you to the residence?

Does the administrator/staff call residents by name and interact warmly with them as you tour the residence?

Do residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable?

Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the residence and staff?

Would residents be appropriate neighbors for you or your loved one?

Are staff personable and friendly?

Are visitors welcome at any time?

   Physical Features

Is the community well designed for residents' needs?

Is it easy to find your way around?

Are doorways, hallways and rooms accommodating to wheelchairs and walkers?

Are elevators available for those unable to use stairways?

Are handrails available to aid in walking?

Are cupboards and shelves easy to reach?

Are floors of a nonskid material and carpets firm to ease walking?

Does the residence have good natural and artificial lighting?

Is the residence clean, free of odors, and comfortably heated/cooled?

Is there a secure environment for wanderers?

Is an outdoor recreation area available?

   Contracts, Costs and Finances

Is there a Contract/Resident agreement available for review?

Is a contract/Resident Agreement available to include accommodations, personal care, health care and support services?

When may a contract/Resident Agreement be terminated and what are the refund policies?

Is there any government, private or corporate programs available to help cover the cost of services to the resident?

Are additional services available if the residents' needs change?

What is the procedure to pay for additional services like nursing care when the services are needed on a temporary basis?

Are there different costs for various levels or categories of service?

How are they determined?

Do billing, payment and credit policies seem fair and reasonable?

May residents handle their own finances with staff assistance if able, or should a family member or outside party be designated to do so?

Are residents required to purchase renters' insurance for personal property in their units?

   Medication and Health Care

What are the policies regarding storage of medication, assistance with medication, training and supervision of staff?

Is self-administration of medications allowed? Can medication be kept in the resident's room? How is it monitored?

How do you coordinate visits from the physician, nurse, hospice, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and others?

Are trained staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation or judgement losses? How are they trained?

What is the procedure for responding to a resident's medical emergency?


Is there a process to identify and address residents' needs?

Does this process include residents, their families and residence staff along with the residents' physician?

Ask the residence to provide a list of services available.

Are staff available to provide 24-hour-a-day assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) if needed? ADLs include dressing; eating; mobility; hygiene and grooming; bathing; toileting and incontinence; using the telephone; shopping; and laundry.

Does the residence provide housekeeping services in residents' units?

Does the residence provide transportation to doctors' offices, hairdressers, shopping and other activities desired by residents?

Can residents arrange for transportation on fairly short notice?

Are pharmacy, barber/beautician and/or physical therapy services offered on site?

Are there special programs for those (who) with memory loss?

   Individual Unit Features

Are different sizes and types of units available?

Are units for single and double occupancy available?

Do units have lockable doors?

Is a 24-hour-a-day emergency response system available in the unit?

Are there private bathrooms with access for walkers and wheelchairs?

Is furniture provided? Are residents able to bring their own furnishings? Is other storage space available?

Do all units have a telephone and cable TV, and how is billing handled?

Is a kitchen area provided with a refrigerator, sink, and cooking appliances?

Are residents allowed to smoke in their units? Is there a designated smoking area?

   Social and Recreational Activities

Do you see activity programs in progress? Ask for a copy of the schedule.
Can residents participate in activities outside the residence?
Is there a volunteer program?
Are pets allowed in the building? Who is responsible for their care?


Are three meals a day offered?

Do dining room menus vary from day to day and meal to meal? Ask for a menu.

Are snacks and beverages available?

May a resident request special foods?

Are special diets accomodated?

Are private dining areas available?
Are guest meals available?
May residents eat meals in their units? Is there an additional charge?
Can meals be provided at a time a resident would like, or are there set times for meals?
Can residents have alcoholic beverages?

What is AL?

Assisted living is a special combination of housing, personalized support services and health care designed to accommodate those who need help with the activities of daily living (ADL's) but may not require the type of care provided in a nursing home. Assisted living promotes maximum independence and dignity for each person and encourages the involvement of family, neighbors and friends. Staff is available to meet individual needs.

Who Lives in ALR's?

Assisted living residents can be young or old, affluent or of low income, healthy, frail or disabled. Assisted Living is also appropriate for someone who is unable to live at home but may not need the type of care provided in a nursing home.

Is AL Regulated?

Yes, New Jersey Department of Health licenses and inspects assisted living.

Typical Services Offered

Choice of an AL community will vary according to a person's needs, desires and the amenities and services offered. Use the following to guide your choice when visiting a community:

  • Three meals a day served in a common dining area
  • Housekeeping services
  • Assistance with transportation
  • Assistance with eating,bathing,dressing,toileting and walking
  • Wellness and nursing services program
  • Medication management
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Staffing 24 hours a day

What About Costs?

Costs vary with the residence, room size, and service required by residents. Medicaid funding may be available to eligible individuals.

For Further Information

Aging & Disability Resource Connection (ADRC)

New Jersey Department of Health
Health Facilities Evaluation and Licensing
Long Term Care Assessment and Survey


Advance Standing Report for Assisted Living Residences/Programs and Comprehensive Personal Care Homes

Health Facilities Licensure Payments

Submit Payments for Health Facilities Licensure

Nursing Home Administrator Licensing Board Payments

Submit Payments for Health Facilities Licensure