What Questions Should You Ask When Touring A Senior Retirement Community?

Going for an onsite tour is extremely important.

When the time comes to explore the idea of retirement living, it is important to see as many communities as possible or at least communities that are available in the geographical area you desire. It is never too early, and there is no limit to the number. Remember, you are comparing and contrasting, so the more you see, the more you learn.

Try not to make any premature judgments about a community because of hearsay. Go explore and learn for yourself. Besides, in most communities, you can enjoy a complimentary meal with your tour.

If family members are available to accompany you, all the better, but if not, make sure and take someone that can help you remember the details. It is a delightful experience with your friends. 

Janice came to tour with three of her Friday morning coffee club friends. They all had some interest in learning about Senior Living, but Janice was serious. They called in advance and arranged for lunch and a tour. At McCrite Plaza, it is our pleasure to treat our guests to lunch, and it made for a perfect outing. The ladies had so much fun and asked a million questions which helped Janice so much. They toured four communities in all. Over the period of a month, Janice compiled a list of pluses and minuses which was extremely helpful in her decision. Of course, she chose McCrite Plaza, and her friends were all supportive and were the first to visit when she got settled in!”

It is ideal to go to your chosen communities with a list of the same questions that can be used for each tour. There is no harm in taking a notebook with your questions spelled out so that each community has the opportunity to answer the same questions. 

No Senior Community should hesitate to give candid, honest, and up-front answers to your questions. If they hesitate, you have reason to be concerned. Take time to jot down your notes while they are speaking to you. This is your investigation, so never be intimidated or feel awkward. Actually, they will appreciate your serious interest.

There are four basic areas to investigate at a senior retirement home:

  • Financial

  • Daily life

  • Amenities

  • Staff

Here is a list of suggested questions you might want to ask the senior living facility. There is nothing off limits, so be candid and upfront.

  • Finances

    • Can you give me a brochure with all the pricing?
    • What are the room sizes and the levels of care, and what do they cost?
    • Is there a move-in or community fee upfront? Can that charge be eliminated?
    • Is this a buy-in community or a month-to-month lease community?
    • What are the meal charges, or are they included?
    • Do I pay extra for laundry, housekeeping, and maintenance?
    • Is transportation to doctor appointments provided?
    • How am I charged when my physical or mental needs increase?
    • Is this a full continuum-of-care community?
    • What is the annual increase in price?
    • If I run out of money, what happens?
  • Daily Life

    • What will an average day be like?
    • What activities are available?
    • Can I eat my meals in my room?
    • May I see a menu for a month-long period?
    • Do I have to eat at a certain time?
    • Is table seating prearranged?
    • May I see a calendar of activities for a month-long period?
    • May I request certain foods? If I am a vegetarian, can your food service take care of me?
    • How will I make friends?
    • Do you have art classes and a choir?
    • Do you have a social worker on staff if I need to talk to someone?
    • Can I meet the activity director?
    • Are there outings to shop? Is that transportation provided?
  • Amenities

    • Do you have a movie theater?
    • Do you have a spa for massages and water therapy?
    • Do you have a swimming pool?
    • Are there areas to walk and be outside?
    • Can I get my hair done? Is there a barbershop?
    • Where will I get my mail and packages?
    • Is there a business center with a computer I can use?
    • Is Wi-Fi provided? Is cable TV provided?
    • Can I get coffee during the day?
    • May I bring my pet? Is there an extra charge or deposit?
    • What are the special celebrations that I can look forward to?
    • Can I have privacy in my apartment? May I lock the door to my apartment?
  • Staff

    • Is there a physician on site or one that comes regularly?
    • What are the emergency protocols? Can I call for medical help?
    • Do you have RNs and LPNs on staff?
    • Can they do injections? 
    • Do you have a full-time activity director?
    • Who is the administrator, and are they onsite every day?
    • Is this a family-owned business or a corporate business?
    • Where is the headquarters, and who is making the decisions?

This is just a suggested list and a starting point. Many of these questions will be covered by anyone giving a tour. This list will just help prepare you for the tour and the kinds of things you’ll want to know. Any community should have collateral that covers most of this in a written form.

Never never be intimidated or confused by an answer. If you don’t understand, keep asking until you are satisfied with the answer. 

Probably the most important way to judge an Independent Living community, Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing facility is to meet the staff and other residents. Things to observe might be:

  • Does the staff make eye contact with you and smile?
  • Do the residents look happy, and are they welcoming?
  • Is the community attractive both inside and out?
  • Is it clean, and does it smell good?
  • Is there plenty of light in the apartments and common areas?
  • Is the community peaceful?
  • What is your gut intuition telling you?

Jack and Louise had been married for 50-plus years. They were very different personalities, but they complimented each other very well. When they came to tour, Jack had his briefcase with all his paperwork prepared. He took out a clipboard and pen and began asking questions. He was putting together a spreadsheet to compare and contrast each community they visited! His business life had prepared him for just such an investigation. He was doing a cost analysis and amenities comparison to make their decision. On the other hand, Louise just loved the flowers and the beautiful interior at McCrite Plaza. She kept oohing and awing about the common areas, especially the library and front room. She would pick out places and say, “Oh, I can drink coffee here in the morning to see the sunrise!” She stopped and visited with several residents and made friends right away. His analysis was all in his head, and hers was all about how things felt. It was a beautiful combination, and they obviously honored each other’s decision when they decided McCrite Plaza was the best choice for both of them!”

It is never too early to start your own Senior Retirement Living investigation. Have some fun and visit several places. At McCrite Plaza, we appreciate good competition. It keeps everyone on their toes to provide the highest quality and most affordable choice. As a family-owned community, we can make the decisions to change and upgrade our community every day because the boss is right here! That is our biggest advantage over the competition!

Call us in Briarcliff-Kansas City at (816) 888-7930 or (785) 267-2960 in Topeka and make an appointment to see everything available to make life exciting for your future!

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