What to Look for and Questions to Ask When Touring Senior Living Communities

When the search for the perfect senior living community begins, it may seem overwhelming, especially if there are many choices available. But the best way to evaluate the merits of each is to start touring senior living communities that appeal the most (be mindful of how many you tour, as it can become even more overwhelming when making a decision.) Before you go, be prepared to make the most of each tour by knowing what to look for and what questions to ask.

What to look for when touring senior living communities

First impressions are a great indicator of whether or not the senior living community is going to work. When touring senior living communities don’t be afraid to scrutinize everything, just as you would when moving to any new home. Among the things to look for are:

  • Overall cleanliness of windows, furniture, floors, and walls
  • Unpleasant odors
  • Team member friendliness
  • Whether housing option layouts and designs are appropriate for the older adult’s preferred lifestyle
  • Happiness of residents
  • Accessibility of housing as well as fitness centers, dining rooms, communal spaces, outdoor recreation areas, etc.
  • Availability of team members, especially in assisted living and memory care
  • Positive interaction between team members and residents
  • Physical safety and security measures in place
  • Proximity to family and friends
  • Proximity to the local community

Touring senior living communities gives older adults a chance to get a feel for the overall environment as well as how well it is maintained and how content and comfortable residents appear. Many tours also include a meal in the dining room so visitors can sample the fare and spend a little time discussing the community. For more about what to look for when touring senior living communities, the top10zilla.com blog, “10 Things the Best Senior Living Communities Have in Common” provides a broader view.

Questions to ask

Touring senior living communities can give you a good idea of the environment, but there are many questions that should be asked as well. A good way to prepare is to make a list of questions to take along when touring senior living communities so you can compare each equally. First ask the questions that are deal makers or deal breakers. For example:

  • Have there been complaints filed against the community and if so what are they and how were they resolved?
  • Are recent state inspection reports available?
  • Are references available?
  • What level of training do team members receive (particularly in assisted living and memory care)?
  • What industry accreditations do the community and/or management and team members hold?
  • If required, is medical care available 24/7, 365 and what level of care can they provide?
  • Is there a doctor on call?
  • What is the procedure in the event of a resident emergency?
  • What security measures are in place for private residences as well as for the communal spaces?
  • What is the demeanor of the team members?

Then there are personal preferences that should be addressed when touring senior living communities. Depending upon level of care required (independent living, assisted living, or memory care) these will be different but similar and include:

  • What meal plans are included or offered?
  • How much assistance can be provided (activities of daily living, assistance with mobility, medication management, etc.)
  • Are housekeeping and laundry services offered/included?
  • What types of housing are offered (studio and 1-2 bedrooms apartments, suites, condominiums, stand-alone homes)?
  • Are housing options well-appointed with appliances and accessibility features?
  • Are housing options as well as communal spaces well lit, accessible, and comfortable for all residents, even those with disabilities?
  • Is transportation available for appointments as well as shopping and other trips?
  • What types of activities are offered and how often?
  • Are there outdoor areas where residents can relax, exercise and/or have fun?
  • Are there exercise facilities and/or classes?
  • What social activities are available (games, clubs, entertainment, etc.)?
  • Are there spaces where residents can pursue hobbies (gardens, computer rooms, arts and crafts areas, libraries, movie theaters, etc.)?
  • What different cost plans are available and what is included in each? Are some services offered ala carte?
  • Is it possible to move from one level to another, such as assisted living to memory care, seamlessly?
  • What are visitation policies?
  • Is there a waiting list?

These are just a few of the many questions older adults need answers to when touring senior living communities. Once all the questions are answered, they can be compared across different communities on a level playing field.  For a more in-depth look at ways to make the most of a senior living community tour, the seniorliving.org blog, “How to evaluate a senior living community,” can help.

Thrive Senior Living communities are among the best in providing older adults with active, healthy, and fun-filled lifestyles. To help make the right senior living decision for you or a loved one, contact us today. 

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