You’ve researched senior living communities online, but you know there’s only so much you can learn from a website. You know that taking tours of some of the most promising communities will give you a lot more information to go on. In addition to allowing you to verify some of details described online, tours will give you a sense of the look and feel of the places you visit.
But to make the most out of a senior living community tour, it’s best to go in with a game plan. That includes having a list of questions prepared ahead of time.
Some of the questions you ask may depend on what’s important to you.
For instance, if you’re interested in independent living, the amenities and services you’re looking for may be different than if you were considering a move to assisted living or memory care.
With that in mind, here are some questions you might want to ask on a tour – grouped according to the type of senior living you may be interested in.
Questions for touring senior living communities in general
- What floor plans are available?
- Can residents decorate and personalize their own spaces?
- Are pets allowed?
- Is parking available?
- What do you do to help residents stay active and socially-connected?
- What’s in the neighborhood (e.g. shopping, library, park, place of worship, etc.)?
- Are housekeeping services available? What about laundry?
- Is transportation available to things like doctors’ appointments or shopping?
- What’s included in your monthly fee? What’s extra?
- Is there a place to entertain visitors? Are there specific visiting hours or can people drop by whenever they want?
- Are overnight guests allowed?
- How does the move-in process work?
- Are staff onsite 24/7? Are they subjected to background checks? What sort of training do they receive?
Questions for touring independent living
- What sorts of recreational opportunities are available in and around the community?
- Who organizes community activities?
- If residents don’t want to cook for themselves every night, are there dining facilities within the community?
- What sorts of health and wellness services can be accessed by independent living residents within the community?
- How is property maintenance looked after?
- Are there additional monthly charges (e.g. property tax? maintenance fees? community fees? etc?)
Questions for touring assisted living
- How many meals are provided per day?
- Can meals be tailored to residents’ specific needs and tastes?
- Are there set times for meals or can they be provided at varied times?
- What are the dining facilities like? When residents are ill, can meals be delivered to their rooms?
- How are resident medications managed?
- What sort of personal care and homemaking services are provided?
- Do you have nurses on staff?
- What happens when a resident’s personal care needs increase? What’s the maximum level of support you can provide?
Questions for touring memory care
- Many of the questions for assisted living also apply for memory care. Here are some additional questions you may want to ask:
- How do you control the risk of residents with dementia becoming disoriented and leaving the property?
- How does your staff respond when residents get frustrated or agitated?
- What sort of training does your staff have in dementia care?
- How do you go about developing individualized care plans?
- What do you do to make residents with dementia feel loved and supported?
- What’s your staff-to-resident ratio?
For more on this topic, check out our Family Decision Toolkit.