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Questions to Ask on a Senior Living Tour

Trying to decide which senior community is right for you or your loved one can be a daunting task. It's important to know all of the details about each facility so you can make the right decision.

Here are a few questions to ask the staff when touring a senior living community.

What living options are there?

Most senior communities offer a range of apartment sizes, locations, and layouts. You should ask about how much privacy there is, what kinds of items you can or cannot bring, and what limitations there are on visitors.

Consider where in the community you'll be happiest. Do you want to be in the center of the action or in a quieter part of the building? Can the staff provide a floor plan of your potential apartment? If so, this can help you determine which of your possessions will fit in the apartment.

You should also ask what utilities are included in the rent. Is cable included? What about Wi-Fi? You might want to know if you will be sharing Wi-Fi with the whole community and visitors or if there are separate networks.

What activities are offered?

Many seniors chose to move to a retirement community because they're starting to feel isolated in their homes. What kinds of activities are available? Are there any eligibility requirements for these activities? When are activities offered?

How do you keep residents safe?

It's important to know what a community does to ensure the safety of you or your loved one. Ask questions such as:

Are there emergency pull cords in rooms?

What kinds of things are there to make the bathroom safer (grab bars, non-slip surfaces, rails, walk-in tubs, etc.)?

What happens if there is a medical emergency? Is staff available 24/7?

Are fire drills performed regularly?

How do you know if residents are accounted for?

Can residents request safety checks?

What happens if a resident has a complaint?

No community is perfect, so it's important to have ways to encourage and address feedback from residents, families, and staff. Who does a resident talk to if they have a concern?

Is there transportation?

Many communities offer some form of transportation. Is transportation included in rent or is it a separate charge? When is transportation offered? Does it include the places you personally want to visit? If you still drive yourself, ask about the parking situation. Do you have to pay for a parking spot? Where is parking located?

What are the meal options?

When are meals served? Is it cook-to-order or cafeteria-style? What kinds of food get served? Ask if you can get a copy of the menu. What happens if a resident doesn't like what is on the menu for that meal? How do they handle allergies? Do residents have assigned seats or do they choose where to sit?

Are pets allowed?

Many senior living communities are pet-friendly, but not all. If you have a pet, it's important to know whether or not they will be able to be with you when you move.

How much does it cost?

Many people feel awkward or rude when talking about money, but it's an important factor in the decision. Once you've determined a particular community is high on your list of choices, you should ask for a cost breakdown. Some things to consider:

What's the base price per month/year?

Will the cost change over time?

What amenities are included in the base price? What add-ons do you have to pay for and how much do they cost?

How does the community communicate with residents and their families?

Ask what the community does to keep you and your family in the loop. What social media platforms do they use? Do they send out announcements via email? Is there a weekly or monthly newsletter or email list? How do residents give their input on potential changes?

How is the transition to the community made easier? Is there a welcoming committee or resident orientation?

How does the staff know who to call when something happens? Can you designate a family member as a contact person?

The Takeaway

Choosing a senior living community can be a difficult decision. Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need. By asking a bunch of questions, you are better equipped to choose the right retirement community for you or your loved one.

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