Touring Assisted Living Communities: What to Ask and Look for

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If you’ve researched assisted living communities online, you have probably realized that there is only so much you can learn from a website. To really know an assisted living community, your best bet is to plan on taking tours of some of the most promising communities. Doing so will give you a lot more information to go on than just the internet will. In addition to allowing you to verify some of the details described online, tours will give you a sense of the look and feel, not to mention the people who live and work there – of the places you visit.

But to make the most out of an assisted living community tour, it’s best to go in with a game plan. That includes having a list of questions prepared ahead of time.

Questions for touring senior living communities in general

  • What floor plans are available?
  • What are the rates for each type of floor plan?
  • Can residents decorate and personalize their own spaces?
  • Are pets allowed? If yes, are there restrictions, as well as extra fees?
  • Is assigned parking available?
  • What do you do to help residents stay socially active and connected?
  • What’s in the neighborhood (e.g. shopping, library, park, place of worship, etc.)?
  • What housekeeping services provided? What about laundry?
  • Is transportation available to things like doctors’ appointments or shopping?
  • Is there a regular schedule of trips residents can take?
  • 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?
  • Can you review the move-in paperwork ahead of time?
  • Are staff onsite 24/7?
  • Are staff subjected to background checks?
  • What sort of training do the staff receive?

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Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living

Questions for touring assisted living communities in particular

  • How many meals are provided per day?
  • Can meals be tailored to residents’ specific dietary 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?

In addition to asking these questions, it’s important to have a good look around the place. From the time you drive onto the property, observe whether the grounds and buildings appear to be well-maintained.

When you enter the building, what is your first impression? Were they expecting you? Is there music? Are residents and staff interacting? Are there any good smells in the air like cookies baking, the next meal, or air fresheners? Are the walls and floor coverings in good condition and clean?

How do the staff interact with residents? Do the staff appear friendly and are they treating the residents respectfully?

Is there attractive outdoor space where residents can enjoy some fresh air? Do the outdoor spaces include walking paths and benches?

If you can, speak to some of the current residents to see what they think of living there.

Some assisted living communities will include a meal as part of the tour. It’s a great way to judge the quality of the food.

Want to learn more about assisted living?

We invite you to download and read our free ebook, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living.

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