The right senior living community speaks to your needs and is prepared to support you even as those needs change. Amenities are important and the way a community talks about itself can reveal a lot, but there’s no substitute for visiting the community in person.
We’ve all had the experience of things turning out differently than we expected. Whether it’s the school you were anxious about that you ended up loving, or the job that you were thrilled about until you met your boss, real-world experience reveals a lot. So, gather your questions and grab a trusted friend or family member to go with you to tour a senior living community. Having some company may help break the ice, and another person might ask questions you never considered or notice things you didn’t.
Here are the most important questions to ask on your senior living tour.
Essential Questions to Ask on Your Senior Living Community Tour
1. What are the costs?
Before you fall in love with a community, it’s important to understand whether it’s in your budget. Cost is about more than the first number the community gives you, though—value is just as important. A more expensive community, for example, could be a much better value if it’s all-inclusive or offers services that reduce your monthly expenditures.
When inquiring about costs, be sure to also ask:
- Can I see an apartment available for the quoted price?
- Do I have to pay extra for meals or certain amenities?
- What is not included in the price of senior living?
- If I need additional services, such as assisted living or memory care, how will that change the cost structure?
- Do prices go up annually?
2. Do you have any programs to help new residents smoothly transition into the community?
Life is easier when you have support, whether you’re moving across the country, adopting a new hobby, tackling a new job, or managing any other transition. Moving to senior living is no different. You’ll be surrounded by new people in an unfamiliar place, and it can take some time to feel comfortable.
The best senior living communities roll out the welcome mat with programs that help you immediately feel at home. Ask for specific details about these programs and what you can expect during your first few weeks. For instance, Cedarhurst’s Pair to Prepare™ program welcomes a loved one to stay with you for a few days at no additional cost so that settling in is easier.
3. Do you have a money-back guarantee?
It’s a familiar experience for many of us: We get excited about something new, invest time and money, and then realize it’s not right for us. Senior living is no different.
No community is one size fits all, so it’s important to choose a community that’s the best fit for your needs. If you realize you’ve made the wrong choice, it’s easy to feel trapped if you’ve invested a ton of money upfront. Cedarhurst offers the Cedarhurst Promise™, a 60-day money-back guarantee,* so you feel confident investing in our communities.
4. Are meals included? What’s the food like?
Food is a cornerstone of the senior living experience. After all, everyone has to eat. For many folks, a meal is a great time to relax and connect with others while nourishing the mind and body.
Healthy food should taste good; otherwise, there’s little incentive to eat it. Make sure the community offers meals tailored not just to your diet, but to your palate. Check out the weekly or monthly menu, and spend some time savoring the fare by staying for a meal.
5. Can I bring my pets?
Your pet is part of your family! Pets are great for your health, too. They relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and make it easier to meet and connect with new people.
The best senior living communities don’t just tolerate pets—they welcome them, offering activities and areas specifically for pets and their parents. Cedarhurst welcomes pets, and many of our residents formed their closest friendships with other pet lovers.
6. How do you foster a sense of community?
Inviting communities are immediately apparent as such. When you walk in, you feel like you matter, not like you have to strive to fit in.
The best senior living communities welcome people from all walks of life and then bring them together with a diverse range of activities and amenities. Get clear answers about what the community does to create camaraderie among residents, and be sure to ask community members what you can do to feel like a part of the group.
7. Can my family visit, and can grandkids or other loved ones stay overnight?
A senior living community should feel like home. That’s because it is! Arbitrary rules about visitors and overnight guests are for summer camps, not thriving senior living communities. Be sure to ask about visitor policies so you can include your loved ones in your daily life and activities.
8. What qualifications and ongoing training does the staff have?
Exceptional communities ensure their staff is fully trained for daily life and emergencies alike. Ask about staff background, as well as continuing education and CPR and first aid certifications. Great communities invest in their people, who then invest in the residents. Make sure you’re choosing a community that truly cares by learning as much as you can about the staff.
9. Are the staff committed and compassionate?
One of the most important things to look for in a senior living community is an invested, happy staff. If you need help or have a question, the community’s staff should be there to help you. Look for these signs of engaged and compassionate team members:
- The staff has meaningful relationships with residents.
- Residents interact with and like the staff.
- The staff is eager to answer your questions.
- You enjoy talking to the staff.
- Staff are respectful and kind to one another.
- Staff seem to enjoy their jobs.
10. What specific amenities and activities does your community offer?
Most communities give a long list of the amenities and activities they have offered in the past. This is a great starting point for discussion, but it’s important to pin down the details. Did they offer yoga one time a year ago, or is it available on an ongoing basis? Do certain amenities cost more?
Some questions to ask about amenities include the following:
- What amenities is your community presently offering?
- Can I see a schedule of current activities? How will the activity schedule change next month?
- Are there any activities or programs that you always offer?
- Do you ever add new activities based on resident input?
- Is there a certain type of person this community caters to? For example, do residents love sports, the outdoors, or crafting?
11. Do you offer transportation?
Whether you love your car or would prefer never to drive again, access to transportation can relieve stress. Residents who currently drive may find that community transportation is easier, and it gives them the chance to enjoy the scenery and daydream. If you don’t drive, you’ll need access to the outside world—preferably without having to rely on friends or family. A robust transportation service is a big plus at any senior living community.
12. Is family always welcome? What family-friendly activities do you offer?
You are a part of your family, which means they’re a part of your senior living community, too. Good communities take an inclusive approach to families, encouraging frequent visits and offering family-friendly activities.
Ask which activities family members can attend and whether the community offers activities tailored to younger family members so you can enjoy some time with the children in your life.
13. Do you offer a continuum of care and services that will evolve with my needs?
Many of our residents tell us that their biggest regret about senior living is not moving in sooner. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a community only to have to leave when your needs change.
Ask about a continuum of care and how the community will support you if you require assistance with activities of daily living or other basic needs. Cedarhurst caters to seniors with a wide range of needs, and we can support you, too.
14. What is the leadership structure of the community? To whom can I speak if I have a problem?
No community can possibly do everything perfectly all of the time. The best communities know this and have a clear accountability structure in place. This means that, should a problem arise, you’ll be met with a compassionate ear and a swift solution. Ask about the community’s leadership structure, and if possible, meet the people overseeing it.
15. Does this community feel like home?
Ultimately, nothing else matters. When you move into a senior living community, it should feel like home—like a place that makes you feel hopeful about the future and safe in the present moment. If you can picture yourself as a happy member of the community you tour, it’s a great sign.
Other Things to Consider on Your Tour
Whether you’re touring assisted living, independent living, or memory care—and whether your visit is for yourself or for someone you love—it’s important to take in as much information as possible. You’re investing a lot in the senior living community you eventually choose. Do your due diligence when it comes to any investment, especially one that will so strongly affect the next step in your life.
Beyond the fifteen questions already discussed, you should pay close attention to these other community factors on your tour:
- How does the community look? Is it well maintained? Does it feel safe and inviting?
- How does the community make you feel? Can you imagine yourself living here? Can you envision a meaningful day here with your loved ones visiting?
- What are the staff like? You can learn a lot from how people interact with you on your first visit.
- What do other people say about the community? Are the reviews consistent with your experiences on your tour?
- What do the apartments look like? Are they well-maintained and attractive?
- Is everyone doing the same thing, or are there lots of different activities to choose from?
- Do the staff seem eager to answer your questions and show off the community, or are they annoyed or evasive?
At Cedarhurst, we’re proud of what we’ve built and eager to share it with prospective residents. It’s a privilege to live up to the Cedarhurst Promise™ and to answer your questions.
*Cedarhurst Promise™ program is only available at select communities. Not applicable for respite or other short-term stays. Refund is available only if move-out is a result of dissatisfaction with Cedarhurst community as documented throughout stay. Complete rent refund includes base rent only. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Please see Resident Agreement for additional details. Void where prohibited.