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Assisted Living (Residential Care) Facilities

Image shows an older man and woman walking by a lake.

Assisted living combines a home-like setting with personal support services to provide more intensive care than is available through home care services. Assisted living homes provide older adults with an alternative to nursing facility care that is both less expensive and less restrictive.  Assisted living residences vary considerably, but most provide meals, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and social activities. They also offer personal care, such as assistance with eating, bathing, grooming and personal hygiene. Some nursing care is also provided, including medication administration and dressing changes.

In Ohio, the typical "Assisted Living" home is licensed as a Residential Care Facility; many people use the terms interchangeably.  The Ohio Department of Health licenses residential care facilities and conducts on-site inspections/surveys for compliance with state rules and regulations.

To determine if assisted living in a Residential Care Facility is a good option for you, contact your area agency on aging and request a free assessment.

What to Look For

There are more than 750 licensed Residential Care Facilities, also known as Assisted Living homes, in the state of Ohio. Use the Find Facilities tool to search for facilities. How do you determine which will meet your needs? The first steps involve reviewing the possibilities to narrow your selection.


Review the services each home offers for those that will meet your needs. Each home may indicate on the Long-Term Care Consumer Guide the special services they offer. Does the description of services match the medical, social and community connections you desire?


Use the geographic search function to find homes within a comfortable travel distance from friends and family.

Quality indicators

All consumers of long-term care services deserve excellent care. The Long-Term Care Consumer Guide contains the following information about each home licensed by the State of Ohio:

  • Inspection Reports, from the Ohio Department of Health, provide information on the Residential Care Facility's compliance with state and federal law.
  • Facility Details, such as the special services provided, the religious or fraternal affiliations, accreditation, costs, and staffing ratios, are provided by the homes..
  • Resident Satisfaction Survey Scores reflect the perceptions of residential care (assisted living) facility residents gathered through face-to-face surveys. Spreadsheets of overall satisfaction scores for residential care facilities are available.

Review the quality information available particularly for the medical, social, spiritual and community needs you have. A facility that scores low on clinical measures, has low satisfaction with direct care staff and is repeatedly cited for medication errors would not be an appropriate choice for a resident at risk for medical complications. On the other hand, a facility with high satisfaction with activities and few or no citations in the areas of choice and dining areas may be a good choice for a resident who enjoys socialization and activities.


Confirm with the facility staff that the nursing homes you consider will accept your insurance coverage, Medicaid or Medicare or that the rates are within your ability to pay privately. Please review the How to Pay resource in this guide to learn more about paying for assisted living care in a licensed Residential Care Facility.

Visit the Facility

Once you've narrowed your list of prospective assisted living facilities, it is very important to visit the homes you're considering. If possible, you should visit multiple times and at different times of day to get a good sense of what the home is like on a day-to-day basis. Speak with current residents and their families about their experiences.

Positive observations

  • The interactions between residents and staff are marked by friendliness, patience and respect. Staff seem to know the residents well, call them by name, and know what they like and don’t like.
  • Staff knock before entering residents’ rooms and residents have privacy available to them, even in shared rooms.
  • Look for residents engaged in age-appropriate activities, able to get outside, or able to rest comfortably.
  • Meal service is appetizing and the dining room(s) are appealing. Residents are assisted with eating, if needed.


  • Loud overhead paging and call lights going unanswered.
  • Staff clustered around reception areas or nurse's stations without interacting with residents. Residents with nothing to do, slumped in wheelchairs.
  • Meals are served late, aren’t appealing, or served at the wrong temperatures. Residents left unassisted in front of their meals or not served at the same time as their table-mates.
  • Residents dressed inappropriately for the weather or in gowns or clothing that doesn’t sufficiently cover their bodies. Residents’ personal grooming is not dignified.
  • Poor maintenance or cleanliness in the resident and common areas. Pervasive odors, unwashed linens.

Need help?

If you need further help in selecting an Assisted Living (Residential Care) facility or are not sure it’s the right setting for you, please contact the Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman program serving your area. Ombudsmen link residents with services or agencies, offer advice on selecting long-term care providers, inform consumers about their rights and provide information and assistance with benefits and insurance.

Know your rights as a long-term care consumer by reviewing the Residents' Rights for information about rights regarding discharge, choice, information and privacy. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program can help ensure residents’ complaints are investigated and resolved. Ohio’s Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman advocates for people receiving home care, assisted living and nursing home care. Contact the Ombudsman if you have concern about care in a nursing home, residential care facility (assisted living), adult group home, or at home.

Email the State Ombudsman: OhioOmbudsman@age.ohio.gov Call the State Ombudsman: 1-800-282-1206 or Find your regional long-term care ombudsman program.