What to Look for and Questions to Ask When Touring Senior Living Communities
As they say, "seeing is believing," which is why touring senior living communities is a must before making your final decision. Descriptions and photos simply cannot compare to the experience of being there in person.
To make the most of your tour, it's important to stay focused as there will be a lot of information thrown at you, especially if you're visiting multiple communities. To make the process easier, learn what to consider and how best to compare communities when touring senior living.
Before Touring Senior Living Communities
The process of touring senior living communities can be time intensive, so you want to be as efficient as possible. As such, you don't want to waste time touring communities that won't be a fit. To make sure this doesn't happen, start your search online first and consider these things:
Your options – Many people don't realize that there is more than one type of senior living. Options include independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Identifying the best fit for you before touring senior living communities is important because not all offer each type of senior living.
How you search – There are many senior living communities out there, especially if you live in a large city, so it's important to be specific right off the bat. We recommend you search by the type of senior living (independent living, assisted living, or memory care) that you determined fits best and your preferred location. For example, search the Internet for "assisted living in city, state."
The communities’ websites – Next, head to the senior living community websites that come up based on your search. You'll want to check out services and amenities, their videos, image galleries, activity calendars, and floor plans.
Community social media – Most senior living communities are active on social media, and this is where you'll get a true sense of the personality of each, as well as what daily life is like for the residents there. Plus, this is where you can also find upcoming events to attend and/or even move-in specials available, so following the ones you are interested in is key.
Going beyond the community – Of course, senior living communities will always present themselves in the best light, so it's important to check online reviews for all those you're considering to gauge their reputation as well!
While Touring Senior Living Communities
After considering the above, ideally, you've decided on two to three top contenders to tour. When touring senior living communities, you'll have an easier time comparing when you're looking for the same things and asking the same questions at each community. We suggest the following:
Accommodations and Campus
What accommodations are available? What are the differences in cost for each?
Is community occupancy high or low?
How's the location?
Can residents personalize their space?
Is the campus well maintained?
How do you feel about the accommodations' appearance, comfort, and cleanliness, as well as the dining, common and outdoor areas?
Lifestyle and Wellness
Does the menu have a variety of nutritious and appealing offerings?
Can you sample the food?
Does the community accommodate special dietary restrictions or requests?
What types of activities (exercise, wellness, enrichment, social, etc.) are available?
How often do residents leave the community for outside activities?
How often are housekeeping and laundry services provided?
How do you feel about the level of 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?
Staff and Care
How much daily assistance can residents expect?
What qualifications are required for the staff?
Are staff members offered additional and/or ongoing 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?
Does the community accommodate special needs, such as diabetic care?
Safety and Security
How does the community handle medical emergencies?
How is the community secured?
What safety features are available?
Is transportation offered?
What are the monthly costs for housing and care?
What services are included in those costs? What services are add-ons?