Do Ohio Independent Living Communities Need to Be Licensed?

Do Ohio Independent Living Communities Need to Be Licensed?

If you're considering an independent living community in Ohio, you may be wondering whether these types of communities are required to be licensed. 

Independent living communities in Ohio that only offer housing, housekeeping, laundry, meals, and social and recreational activities can operate without a license.

Assisted living communities, on the other hand, offer services beyond what seniors residing in independent living communities receive. For instance, older adults in assisted living also receive help with activities of daily living (ACLs). Because of this, these types of communities do require a license.



The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) licenses and regulates assisted living communities in the state. Licensing of residential care communities is important to protect the safety and well-being of older adults. By requiring care communities to meet certain standards, the ODH helps to ensure that residents receive the care they need in a safe and supportive environment.

Every 9 to 15 months the ODH conducts at least one unannounced inspection of all licensed assisted living communities in Ohio. This is done to ensure each community meets the state's standards. Communities that fail inspection could have their license suspended or revoked. 


Regulations of an Assisted Living Community in Ohio



Many assisted living communities in Ohio will require an application process. They'll want to know about you or your loved one's medical history, current health conditions, and any medications or supplements the potential resident is taking.

Staff will provide an assessment regarding the elder's needs. This determines if this type of care is right for them. Keep in mind, an assisted living community can only provide limited skilled nursing care services to its residents. Services include help with medications and ADLs (personal hygiene, bathing/showering, and walking).

After all the necessary paperwork has been submitted, seniors and their families should be able to schedule a visit to the assisted living center. This visit gives you and your family the chance to sample the food, see how the staff interacts with residents, observe the cleanliness of the community, and more.  

It's important to note that these regulations may be subject to change, and it's always a good idea to contact the assisted living community directly to get up-to-date information on their specific admission requirements.


Dietary Requirements

Residential care communities must provide well-balanced meals with adequate nutrients. All meals must be prepared according to the resident's special dietary needs. This means adjusting for food allergies and intolerances, religious restrictions, and any other specific dietary preferences.

In addition to meals, the senior living community is required to offer a variety of healthy snacks. At all times, residents should also have access to clean water that's safe to drink.

senior ladies playing bingo together



Seniors moving into an assisted living community in Ohio are entitled to a private apartment with locks on the inside, unless the resident has dementia or Alzheimer's.

When it comes to the apartments, some other regulations the care community must abide by include:

  • Residents' rooms and bathrooms are required to have call systems that the resident can activate in case of an emergency.
  • Bathrooms must be kept clean and in good repair. Care communities are also responsible for making sure the bathrooms are equipped with safety equipment such as nonskid mats, handrails, and grab bars.
  • The community and residents' apartments are required to have safety features such as fire alarms and sprinklers.


Care Services

Services assisted living communities in Ohio are required to provide include:

  • A registered nurse who is on site 24 hours per day, seven days per week to assess and evaluate each resident's medical needs and administer medications as prescribed by a physician.
  • Assistance with activities of daily living such as using the bathroom, getting dressed, eating, grooming, bathing, showering, and walking.
  • Housekeeping and maintenance services for residents' apartments and common areas such as hallways, lounges, and dining rooms.
  • Transportation for medical appointments and other errands.
  • Help with medication. Caregivers can remind residents to take their medicine, observe the residents to ensure they take the medication correctly, help open the container, and assist in organizing their medication if the resident knows what the medicine is and can participate in the organization.
  • Activities that encourage socialization among residents and their families as well as participation in community events such as picnics or other group activities outside the community grounds. 


Getting Into a Residential Care Community in Ohio

senior couple looking out window


Determine the Level of Care Needed

Some assisted living communities only provide basic assistance with ADLs, while others offer more comprehensive medical care. Older adults who have limited mobility and/or need help with two or more activities of daily living are usually able to get into an assisted living community.


Schedule a Visit

Once you have a list of residential care communities that meet your loved one's needs, make an appointment to tour the communities. As you tour each one, speak with staff and residents to get a sense of the quality of care provided.


Complete an Application

If you decide to move forward with a particular assisted living community, the next step is to complete an application. Be prepared to provide medical and financial information about yourself or your elder family member.


Wait for Acceptance

Once you've completed the application process, the assisted living community will review it to determine if they are able to provide the level of care you or your family member requires. If they are, you'll be notified and proceed from there.

As you can see, there are many regulatory requirements for assisted living communities in Ohio. The goal of these rules is to ensure that residents are safe, comfortable, and well cared for while they enjoy the golden years.

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