- Finding the Right Option
- What Level of Care Do I Need?
- When is it the Right Time for Senior Living?
- How Do I Find the Right Senior Living Community?
- Financial Planning
- Average Cost of Senior Living
- Helpful Financial Resources
- Understanding Medicare Coverage
- Veterans Benefits
- Having the Conversation
- How to Prepare for the Conversation
- Helping the Conversation Go Smoothly
- Next Steps After the Conversation
Making the Most of Your Community Tour
Touring a community is a big step in the senior living journey. And if you are at this point, then take time to congratulate yourself on this progress.
Chances are that you've never toured a community before, but you know the value of finding the right community for you or a family member. The more prepared you are for the process, the better you'll be at selecting that perfect community.
Benefits of Touring a Community
Maybe you're excited about getting to see your potential new home in person. Or, perhaps you're a little apprehensive. Going on a tour can bring up a lot of emotions — excitement, uncertainty, encouragement, fear.
But there are many excellent reasons to schedule a visit. It could put your mind at ease after seeing all the residents laughing with the staff, or getting to view the clean and spacious apartments. Here are some reasons to pick up the phone and set up a day and time.
1. You get a feel for the environment.
We all want to live in a place that feels like home, even if that means something different to each of us. That’s why most people would never purchase a house without going to look at it first. When you visit a community in person, you can walk through the hallways, see the apartments and get a feel for the environment. Is this somewhere you can see yourself living?
2. You can meet the people who work there.
Because you’ll see them every single day, the people who work in a senior living community are an important part of the decision-making process. Meeting them face-to-face gives you the chance to see what it might be like to interact with these new friendly faces day in and day out.
3. You can taste the food.
Food plays an important role in our daily life, and that doesn’t change just because you move into a senior living community. When you go on a community tour, you can look at the menu options, sneak a peek at the dining room and maybe even have a meal. That’s way better than settling for pictures in the brochure.
4. You can meet other residents.
Everyone has a different reason for choosing to move into a community. Some seniors make the transition to widen their social circle. Visiting a community in person will allow you to meet the people who might be your future neighbors. Do they seem like people you would get along with? Do you have things in common? Are they friendly? You’re more likely to be able to answer those questions if you go in person.
5. You can ask more questions.
Even if you’ve done your research and made a list of questions to ask when you tour a senior living community, you may find yourself with new questions as you walk through the halls and common rooms. Touring in person lets you ask questions naturally as they arise, hopefully giving you a more comfortable feeling that you would get online or over the phone.
We visited three other places, and Brookdale was our third visit. We walked in and were embraced right away. People were moving around and happy. There was a lot of activity. My husband said, ‘They were nice. I liked them the best.'
How to Make the Most Out of a Senior Living Community Tour
The last thing you want to do is go on multiple community tours and then come home without a clear idea of which one is right for you. To avoid indecision, here are a few things you may want to do before you lace up your shoes and head out the door.
Schedule a tour in advance.
Rather than walking into a community and asking if someone is available to show you around, make a point to schedule your tours in advance. This ensures there will be a staff member available with dedicated time to answer each and every one of your questions.
Know what questions to ask.
Prepare your questions in advance, and keep a copy of them in a notebook or on an electronic device that you can take with you on tours. Otherwise you might forget a question or two and have to circle back around later.
Visit during an activity.
One of the best ways to get a feel for what life is like at a community is to be on campus when activities are happening. This gives you an inside look at how residents interact with one another and allows you to get a feel for what the atmosphere would be like if you lived there.
Get feedback from residents.
Other than talking to the staff and observing a community with your own eyes, one of the best things you can do is talk to current residents. People are often more than willing to talk about their experience, and you can trust that they have a pretty good idea of what life is like if they’ve lived there for a while. Alternatively, you can always read online reviews.
Take good notes.
If you prepared all those questions in advance, you want to make sure you take detailed notes so you can remember what each community is like. You may be tempted to only jot down a few things in the heat of the moment, but you’ll thank yourself later if you make a point to be a diligent note taker. Those notes will be crucial in helping you narrow down your choices when you’re done touring the communities on your list.
Trust your gut.
It’s important to choose a senior living community that checks all the boxes on your wishlist, but you also want to trust your gut. If a community looks good on paper, but you don’t feel good about it, it might be best to consider a few other options.