When it comes to assisted living communities, there may be several to choose from in your area, and oftentimes it can be hard to determine the level and quality of care based on website alone. Taking a tour is often the best way to determine if a community is the right fit for you or a loved one, as a tour allows visitors to get a true sense of the community – whether it be through the warmth of the staff, the smells from the kitchen or the smiles of fellow residents.

Still, there are a few other ways to gauge quality of care even before setting foot in the door. These come in the form of credentials, awards and accreditations. These accolades are dependable measures of quality because the organizations that issue them have consistent criteria across the board. These awards are oftentimes issued by the State Department or other national healthcare organizations, and communities must provide documentation of going above and beyond industry standards and taking excellent care of their residents year over year.

In terms of credentials and accreditations, look for those that are relevant to you or your loved one. This can provide peace of mind by ensuring the community is equipped to meet a specific set of needs. Next, look for recognition, accolades and awards issued by the state. Government organizations have strict standards for awarding recognitions, so an organization that has earned them is surely worthy of consideration. Other awards and accreditations to look for include the Best Practice in Assisted Living and Advanced Standing, both awarded by the State Department of Health.

Next, look for awards from national organizations. If a community has received recognition from a high-profile national organization, it means that it was selected from a very large pool of competitors. Some of these organizations include the American Health Care Association, the National Center for Assisted Living and Argentum (formerly the Assisted Living Federation of America).

These credentials, accolades, awards and recognitions are a great way to vet possible communities before scheduling tours with your top choices.