What to know, what to take, and what to ask.
When it comes to choosing a senior living community, the interactions you have with the
community are vitally important to your decision-making process. Often, the first in-person
contact you’ll have is a tour. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions of many different
people, observe the life of the community, sample the food, and get a feel for whether it’s
the right place for you. It only makes sense that you’ll want to be prepared.
- Prepare for your tour. Compile a list of questions to take with you. (This article will give you many ideas.)
Bring a notebook so you can jot down observations. Consider asking a family member
or friend to accompany you on the tour to provide an extra set of eyes and ears.
And having camera or cell phone handy to take pictures is a good idea as well.
- Ask a lot of questions. Choosing a senior living community is a big decision, so questions are expected.
The questions in the following list of topics will get you started. You’ll surely have more of
your own as you learn about each community, so don’t hesitate to ask anything that
comes to mind. Staff will want to help you make sure the community is a good fit for you.
Dining Services. If you will be using the community’s dining services, the quality
of food is paramount. Are multiple dining options available, or is there only one dining
room? Can residents eat according to their own schedules, or is dining only available
at certain times? Ask to view several months of menus. Is there variety? Eat a meal
at the community. Is the food fresh and well prepared? Ask residents you meet how
they like the food and what they think of the service. If you require a special diet, ask
how that would be accommodated.
Floor Plans. Even if you think you know which floor plan you want, be sure to view
all your options and tour actual residences before making up your mind. A plan that may
seem too small or overly spacious on paper may feel different in person.
Also check that the residence you’re considering includes features that are important to
you. Is there plenty of natural light? Are kitchen appliances full-size? Does each residence
have its own washer and dryer, or do residents share a common laundry room? Is there
plenty of closet space? What about extra storage either within the residence or on-site?
Is secure Wi-Fi provided? What about parking?
Services and Amenities. Find out what kinds of services and amenities are offered
and included in your monthly fees. Are there plenty of activities and programs that
would interest you? What about resident clubs? Are there frequent daytrips to areas of
interest like museums or theater performances? Is transportation available for shopping
and medical appointments? What is the community’s approach to wellness? Is there a
fitness center with group exercise classes? Is personal training available? What about
conveniences like a salon, barbershop or spa? Are church services offered on-site or is
transportation available to area churches and synagogues?
Health Care. Is there an on-site clinic for routine health monitoring, screenings and
treatment of acute illnesses? How is it staffed and when? What additional levels of care are
available on-site in case your needs someday change? Who determines whether and when
an additional care level is needed? How are living arrangements handled if one member of
a couple is independent while the other needs more care?
Ask to see the community’s inspection reports, state survey or accreditation results and,
if it offers health care, its CMS.gov report. Your local Area Agency on Aging can also help
you find information about the community’s performance. If you note any deficiencies, ask
to speak with the director about the report.
Staff. What training and credentials do staff members have? Is a background check
required for all staff members? Ask about longevity and turnover. Low staff turnover can
be a sign of a well-managed community, while high turnover can be stressful for residents
who depend on staff to meet their daily needs. What staffing levels are maintained? Is it
different in the evening or on weekends?
As you tour the community, make a point of speaking with some staff members.
How do they interact with you? Are they proud of the community and the work they do?
Is morale high?
Safety and Security. What types of security procedures, systems and technology
are used? Is there a pull cord or similar system that a resident can use to call for help?
Does a staff member respond to safety and security issues 24/7? Is there a system in
place to regularly check on residents? Does the community have a generator for
Costs and contracts. If you think the community may be a good fit for you,
ask about costs, including any entrance fee, monthly fees and contract types.
Being prepared for your tour will help you make the most of the time you have, and
ensure you’re able to fully understand the community and its culture. Use this time to
think about your current and future needs, and imagine how you want to live the next
chapter of your life.
Capital Manor offers an exceptional senior lifestyle, and we’re looking
forward to meeting you and showing you around our community.