Tips for In-Person & Virtual Senior Living Community Tours
The process of choosing a senior living community for your loved one can be complex. Just like an apartment or house hunting process, it requires making sure that a place checks all the right boxes. It has to have all the amenities you want, be well-maintained, and feel like home.
Then, of course, there are the added dimensions of senior care: the availability of medical assistance, qualifications of staff members, overall safety and security, and social opportunities. Depending on the level of care your loved one needs, there may be other considerations to make as well such as memory care.
As you navigate this process, a senior living community tour is the best way to narrow down your options and decide. To make the most of your visit, the senior care advisors at CarePatrol have devised a checklist of things to do, questions to ask, and features to consider while you’re touring a community in-person or virtually!
Schedule Your Tour at the Right Time
Think about your priorities, and schedule your tour at a time when you can experience the most of what you want. Start by asking the community for a schedule of events—this is a great way to get to know their programming and make sure they offer plenty of stimulating and engaging activities. Then, consider planning your visit to include an event that your loved one is likely to be interested in, like a yoga session or painting class.
If you’re visiting a community with a shared dining area, we also recommend timing your visit with a meal so that you can sample the food available. Sitting down to eat surrounded by staff and residents also gives you a chance to get a feel for the overall atmosphere and personality of the community.
Whether you’re touring virtually or in person, pay attention to things like:
- Do the people you interact with greet you in a warm and friendly manner?
- Are you given the chance to speak to multiple staff representatives, such as dining directors, care/wellness managers, caregivers, and outing coordinators?
- Do the staff and residents around you seem engaged and happy?
- Does the person leading the tour seem truly engaged? Are they really listening to your questions and concerns?
Prepare a List of Questions
When you’re on a tour, there’s a lot to take in. As you’re exploring common areas, private rooms, and chatting with your guide, it’s all too easy to forget some of the key questions that are most important to you. That’s why we highly recommend preparing a list of things that you want to ask ahead of time and bringing it with you on your tour.
We’ve talked before about questions to ask when choosing a nursing home. These questions apply equally well to any senior living option—retirement homes and assisted living communities included. Other basic questions to consider include:
- What is the resident-to-staff ratio?
- What training and qualifications are staff members required to have?
- What types of rooms are available?
- What dining program options are included in the plan?
- Does this community offer transportation or scheduled outings?
- What is the pet policy?
Focus on Safety & Security
We highly encourage families to ask their tour director about the community’s security and safety features. This includes whether there is a nurse on duty 24/7 and what medical services are available onsite.
It’s also important to keep an eye on the layout of the building and grounds. Be looking for things such as:
- 24-hour emergency alert and response systems in apartments
- Accessibility features like handrails, shower/bath bars, ramps, and elevators
- Enclosed courtyards and/or keypad entry, especially for residents with dementia
- Simple, easy-to-navigate layout and floor plan
Engage Your Senses, and Take Notes
A little bit of mindfulness goes a long way during a tour. Lean on your senses to gain an extra perspective about the community’s character and quality. Studies show that our physical surroundings are a key part of our emotional well-being. So, as you tour virtually or in-person, ask yourself whether all the areas have:
- Inviting, home-like decorations
- Ample natural lighting
- A calm ambient noise level
- Well-kept landscaping and views of greenspace
- Cleanliness and a pleasant ambient smell
It’s also important to write down notes about these things so you can compare your options later. Consider making two columns for each community you tour: on one side, list the characteristics that impress you. On the other, list things that give you pause.
Trust Your Instincts
Touring a senior living community has a wealth of benefits. Tours give you the chance to ask questions, get a real feel for the environment, get to know staff, and even talk to current residents. At the end of the day, you’ll leave with a gut impression of the overall atmosphere and whether you can see yourself or your loved one living there.
Trust that feeling. Think about which communities really stood out to you, and why. And if you have a negative impression of a place, cross it off the list. There will be other locations that fill you with confidence!
Get Help From a Trusted Senior Care Advisor
Senior living community tours are wonderful opportunities, but they can be a lot to juggle, especially if it’s your first time in this situation. That’s why CarePatrol’s senior care advisors work with families to schedule tours and accompany them on each visit. Your senior care advisor can help you develop a list, choose the right visiting times, and make the most of your tours.
We’ve vetted thousands of local senior care options so you don’t have to spend unnecessary time visiting a place that won’t be the right fit. We’ll coordinate all the aspects of the process from assessing your loved one’s needs to getting settled in on moving day. Best of all, we do it at no cost to you. If you need to find care for someone in your family, partner with CarePatrol today!
CarePatrol: Helping Families Find & Choose the Best Senior Care Solutions
CarePatrol’s senior care advisors are here to advocate for you and your loved one throughout the whole process of finding the right senior living option. We know that these decisions often have to be made under stressful circumstances, so we’re here to support and guide you with our wealth of local knowledge and experience. Reach out to us today to find your ideal solution!