Tips on Touring Independent Living Communities

May 11, 2022
Friendship Retirement Community, Residents' Center entrance

From maintenance-free living to resort-like amenities to an active, social and enriching lifestyle, independent living certainly seems ideal for retirees. But does the reality match the description? There’s one way to find out: take a tour! Here are your options to do just that, along with tips on how to compare more than one independent living community.

Touring Independent Living Communities Virtually Versus In-Person

Most independent living communities now offer both in-person and virtual tours. With both options you’ll start by contacting the community either by phone or online to schedule. We’ll then ask you some questions about what you’re looking for in an independent living community so we can tailor the tour experience. During the tour you can expect to meet team members and perhaps residents who will share what life is like in the community. You’ll also see the campus grounds, living options, and popular amenities, plus we’ll discuss the social, fitness and enrichment opportunities available to residents. To determine which tour option is best for you, consider these pros and cons.

Virtual Tours


Convenient if you have mobility challenges or are recovering after surgery or illness.

Flexible for out-of-town family members who’d like to participate in the tour.

Saves time and potentially money if travel is necessary for a tour.

Additional peace of mind during cold and flu season, and/or if you are immunocompromised.


May take more time with travel plus the tour itself.

Not as much of an immersive experience as an in-person tour.

The community has more control over what you see and what you don’t.

In-Person Tours


It’s a more immersive experience which may give you a better feel for the environment.

May have the option to participate in an activity or a meal depending on the time of your visit.

May have more opportunities to engage with residents and families.


For some, finding transportation to the community may be a challenge.

May limit out-of-town family members from participating in tour.

Comparing Independent Living Communities

Our recommendation is to compare two to three communities, if possible. Then, make sure to compare the communities across the same criteria. It not only makes the process easier, but also helps you to keep focused on the tour. Comparison points include:

  • The accommodation options and cost differences.
  • Monthly costs, as well as what’s included in those costs.
  • Whether or not there is a buy-in or entry fee.
  • The appearance, cleanliness and comfort of accommodations, dining, common and outdoor areas.
  • Menu variety and nutrition (special diets, etc.) as well as whether or not there is a dedicated chef.
  • What programs (fitness, enrichment, social, etc.) are offered.
  • If/how often housekeeping and laundry services are provided.
  • Amenities available in the community.
  • Community location and proximity to recreation, shopping, dining, and medical services.
  • Feel of the community, residents and staff; whether it’s inviting, welcoming, friendly, etc.
  • Experience/expertise of staff and ongoing training in which they participate.
  • Staff-to-resident ratio both day and night.
  • The safety and security features that are offered.

In addition to touring independent living communities, check online review sites and each community’s social media pages to also get a sense of their personality as well as daily life for residents. And don’t forget to make sure to ask friends, family and trusted advisors such as your doctor if they have any insight on the independent living communities you’re considering.

Contact Friendship today to schedule a virtual or in-person tour by calling 540.777.7103.

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Senior Living Options

Senior Living Options


Friendship North Campus

367 Hershberger Road, Roanoke, VA 24012


Friendship South Campus

5647 Starkey Road, Roanoke, VA 24018


Friendship Salem Terrace

1851 Harrogate Dr, Salem, VA 24153