5 Things to Look for When Touring an Independent Living Community

June 24, 2024
June 24, 2024

Now that you've decided that the independent living lifestyle is right for you, how do you choose the right community? For many older adults, this decision is just as overwhelming as whether or not to move at all!  

What should you be looking for?  

What questions should you ask?  

How do you compare communities?  

We believe the best way to decide is to see for yourself by touring independent living communities, as descriptions and photos simply cannot compare to experiencing a community in person. But to make the process easier, here's how to prepare and what to look for when touring.

Before touring independent living communities

To prepare for your tours, first, it's important to take a step back and consider what you want and need. Knowing what's most important when touring independent living communities not only saves you the trouble of visiting ones that aren't a good fit, but you're also less likely to be overwhelmed by too many choices. We recommend you consider these things:

  • Your wants and needs: Are you looking for things like help with housekeeping and home maintenance, and a social and active lifestyle, for example?
  • Your must-haves: What do you consider your deal-breakers? For example, a particular location, being pet friendly, a specific floor plan like a two-bedroom, concierge services, multiple dining venues, and transportation.  

Next, you want to conduct an online search for independent living communities that meet your criteria. It's important to be specific when you search, particularly if you live in a large city, as there may be a number of options available. For example, search by "independent living in city, state" or even “independent living near me” versus simply "independent living."

When visiting the websites of the independent living communities from your search results, you'll want to compare their services and amenities with your wants, needs and must-haves. Peruse their videos and image galleries, activity calendars, and floor plans to help you narrow your list. It's also a good idea to check out the social media of these communities as well. On social media, it's often easier to get a sense of the personality of each community, plus what daily life is like for the residents there.  

5 Things to Look for When Touring an Independent Living Community

Ideally, from your preparation above, you've found two or three final contenders in which to tour. To more easily compare when touring independent living communities, we recommend you ensure you're looking for the same things and asking the same questions at each. We suggest the following:  

  1. Accommodations and campus
  • What types of accommodations does the community offer? What are the differences in cost for each?
  • What is the location of the independent living community like?
  • What can residents do to personalize their space?
  • Is the community's campus well maintained?
  • What do you think of the accommodations' appearance, comfort, and cleanliness, as well as the dining, common, and outdoor areas?

  1. Lifestyle and wellness
  • Does the community's menu have many nutritious and appealing offerings? Can you sample the food when you tour?
  • Does the community accommodate special dietary restrictions or requests?
  • What activities (exercise, wellness, enrichment, social, etc.) are offered?
  • How often do residents leave the community for outside activities?
  • How often are housekeeping and laundry services provided?
  • What do you think of the amenities available? Do they fit your needs and wants?
  • Can friends and family visit anytime? Are there common and private spaces to gather with them?
  • Is the community pet-friendly?
  • Is scheduled (and/or private) transportation offered?

  1. Staffing
  • What qualifications are required for the staff?
  • Are staff members offered additional and/or continuous training opportunities?
  • What is the staff-to-resident ratio during the day and at night?
  • How do staff members interact with residents and you? Do they seem friendly and compassionate?

  1. Safety and security
  • How does the community handle medical emergencies?
  • Does the community have a documented disaster plan?
  • How is the community secured?
  • What safety features are in place?

  1. Cost
  • What are the monthly costs for housing?
  • What services are included in those costs? What services are add-ons?
  • What are the community's payment options?

Download our Just the Facts Guide to Independent Living guide today for more information.

download our just the facts - independent living guide

To learn more, download our
Your Guide to Independent Living

Your Guide to Independent Living


Friendship North Campus

367 Hershberger Road, Roanoke, VA 24012


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5647 Starkey Road, Roanoke, VA 24018


Friendship Salem Terrace

1851 Harrogate Dr, Salem, VA 24153