Independent Living | What to Look out for when You Visit

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When you’re in the process of choosing a care home, ask for the following:

  • The facility or company brochure (many places have a digital version available on their website)
  • A copy of a resident or tenant contract, including a cost breakdown as well as the terms and conditions
  • Details on the facility’s waiting list procedure and, if they already have an active list, how long the wait is

If those preliminary steps yield positive results, the next step is scheduling an in-person or virtual visit to the retirement community. Ideally, seniors should visit the facility with a family member or a close friend.

When visiting a retirement home in-person or virtually, keep the following questions in mind: 

General Questions

  • Does the facility make a good first impression? Why or why not?
  • Are the manager and staff friendly and welcoming?
  • Are the unit and the communal areas clean and well-maintained?
  • Is there parking available? If so, what is the cost?
  • If there’s no parking available, what are the alternative transportation options?

Care and Accessibility

  • Does the facility meet my current health needs?
  • Is the home designed to support me if I need additional assistance due to illness or disability?
  • What kind of care is available if I need medication assistance?
  • How do management and staff communicate and offer support to family members?

Professional Healthcare Providers

  • When are they available?
  • How does the staff respect my privacy and dignity?
  • Do healthcare providers take the time to get to know me?
  • Does your staff speak different languages?

Day-to-Day Living

  • Is there a daily routine set? Or do I get to choose my daily routines such as wake-up, bedtime, or meal times?
  • Do I get to choose when and how often I get a shower or bath?
  • Do I have internet and phone access?

Living Space

You Living Space

  • Do I share the space with anyone else?
  • How clean and well-maintained are the bedrooms?
  • Does the space meet my current health care needs?

Shared Living Space

  • What kind of shared facilities are there?
  • Is there access to an outdoor area, like a garden?
  • What activities are offered in the lounge areas?


  • What kind of meals are served daily?
  • How often do meals change?
  • Do you cater to special dietary requirements?
  • Do you cater to my personal or cultural food preferences?


  • What is your visitor policy?
  • Are there visitor restrictions such as the number of visitors or time they can visit?
  • Can visitors stay overnight?