Touring a Senior Living Community: What To Look Out For
Touring a senior living facility is a crucial aspect of deciding on the best senior living lifestyle option for you or a loved one, and many prospective residents find that they are uncertain about what to look for or inquire about before embarking on their search.
We recommend that while touring senior care homes, you come prepared with a list of questions to ask during your visit to get a general sense of if the facility is suited for your needs. To help you, we've developed a list of questions you may ask during your tour.
In the real estate industry, it is common to hear that location is the most significant aspect of the decision-making process when moving homes. Senior’s that live in the care homes you are touring may prove to be a reliable source of information, as firsthand experiences can offer social proof of the benefits and drawbacks the location provides for its residents. Some questions you may choose to keep in mind regarding the location are:
- Do the grounds appear to be well-kept?
- Is there enough parking space in the case of visitors?
- Is the residence in a safe area?
- Is the residence near restaurants, shopping centres, and entertainment centers?
Your First Impression of the Facility
While virtual tours can serve to be a convenient and safe way to tour a residence, they cannot provide the benefit you get when getting to speak with the team members personally. The best way to experience a location is with a guided tour in person. While touring the community, consider asking these questions:
- Is the building well-maintained and comfortable?
- Is there a concierge service available? What are the working hours?
- Is there accessible transportation?
- What kind of security is there in the building?
When on a tour, it may be helpful to ask the residents about the community, as their experiences can provide you with insight you may not have otherwise heard about. When you go on a tour, shared spaces such as dining halls and communal spaces are also an excellent place to get a sense of the services they offer, such as their dining experience. Take note of the following questions:
- Do the residents appear to be well-cared for?
- What leisure activities are available for seniors?
- Are the residents and team attentive and kind to one another?
Services and Amenities
Every residence is distinct and offers a unique set of services to meet your specific care needs. Depending on your budget, it's important to speak with the team at the care facility you are touring to learn about the amenities that are accessible to you, given your price range. For example, some independent living facilities may offer gyms, outdoor maintenance, concierge services, etc., however, some smaller communities like long-term care homes may not. As different independent living facilities may include varying amenities such as gyms, pools, outdoor landscaping, concierge services, and meal plans, we recommend that you make a list of your preferences so that you can pick the best community that meets all your needs. You may choose to ask:
- What services are provided here?
- What are some activities I can do to stay physically active here?
- Is there a gym on-site or fitness classes available?
Health and Wellness
For a senior to live independently for as long as possible, their overall health must be considered. Depending on you or your loved one's needs, there are many degrees of care available at a care home facility. Some of these health and care services can include health care services administered by a nurse or personal care services administered by personal support workers. You may choose to ask the nurse or director of nursing some of these questions:
- Can I have a doctor come to see me if I fall ill?
- Is there a nurse available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
- What are my options if my health is worsening?
- Are there any wellness classes available on-site?
Many care home facilities offer dining services that are flexible when it comes to their menus, whether that be altering meals for special dietary restrictions or modifying the texture of certain foods to make it easier to chew and digest. When considering a care home, some questions you may wish to keep in mind when checking out their dining services include:
- What is the overall dining experience like?
- Do they provide different food choices based on dietary requirements?
- Do they provide a culturally-inclusive menu with ethnic food options to accommodate your preferences?
Activity coordinators are at the heart of a community as they plan daily activities for residents to stay active and entertained throughout the day. Seniors can engage in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities depending on the facility, such as gardening, walking around the neighbourhood, outdoor concerts, movie evenings, day trips, and much more. Consider the following questions as you try to gain a sense of the everyday activities available:
- What is there to do around the local community?
- Do you offer charter buses for shopping and dining?
- What does a typical day of activities look like here?
When visiting a senior living community, it’s important to keep in mind the overall cost to retain their services. You’ll find that senior living costs at a care home may fluctuate depending on the kind of benefits, amenities, and care you receive. You should also consider the size of the room or apartment you wish to stay in, as larger rooms or apartments will have greater expenses. Consider asking some of these questions when seeking information on finances:
- Are there financing options available to us to pay for their apartment?
- What government funding and subsidies are available to support me in paying for retirement care?
- What amenities are included with my rental?
- What is the policy in regards to breaking their lease agreement?
- How much does it cost to receive additional services that are not included in the rental agreement?