When searching for senior care, or housing for a parent or loved one, many people feel confused or overwhelmed by all the options. If you are starting your search, undoubtedly you want to make the right decision for the whole family. But, with so many choices — and so many different types of senior communities, services, and programs — it can be hard to make sense of it all. Know that you are not alone.
To see how others have coped, watch this video of adult daughter Wendy as she shares her thoughts on what to consider when researching senior communities for a parent.
Thousands of adult children and families, just like you, are starting to do their research and embarking on the senior living journey. Many need assistance just to begin. We can help! We will guide you through the whole transition and help you understand topics ranging from senior living terminology to finding the right fit for your loved one, and everything between.
Please take a look through our guide below for some easy-to-understand yet detailed descriptions of the various senior living options available. You will find that this process goes beyond finding suitable housing for the next chapter in your loved one’s life. It’s about finding a new home that meets one’s financial and health care needs, as well as a chance to build new friendships, rediscover purpose, and enrich one’s life.
Table of Contents
Senior apartments offer true independent living – true in the sense that virtually no care services are included. These communities serve residents 55 years of age and older, although some may have a minimum age of 62. They’re an ideal choice for those who are able to meet their day-to-day needs with little or no assistance. Most of these apartment communities offer conveniences and amenities geared toward their independent senior residents. Please note: these communities operate on basic landlord and tenant laws and are not regulated by state health care requirements, as are assisted living communities.
“Often times, at our age, it’s tough to move to a condominium or a new city and start over at the age of 80 because everybody has their friends and they got their cliques. But the senior communities, everybody is looking for the same thing - new friends. I’ve seen that people in these situations are looking forward to meeting new people, even if they won’t admit it, they are.”
- Gretta, MN
What Amenities to Look For
Independent senior apartments vary greatly in their offerings. It’s a good idea to make a list of the conveniences and services that are most important to you. For many seniors, location tops the list, whether to be near family and friends or near their favorite activities, or both. After that, what matters most is a very personal decision. Here are some of the most common amenities or offerings typically included in the monthly rent:
- Utilities. Most senior apartment rental fees include gas, electric, water, trash, and recycling services. Many now also include complimentary Wi-Fi in common areas and basic cable. Often phone, expanded cable packages and Wi-Fi for personal use such as streaming videos, shows or other online applications are the responsibility of the resident.
- Maintenance. Maintenance repairs and updates usually are covered, including apartment and appliance repairs, including safety and code upgrades. The resident is usually responsible for decorating costs such as painting or window treatments. Be sure to check for restrictions on the changes a resident can make to their apartment. You may have to pay to return it to original condition when you move out.
- Housekeeping services. Some communities offer light housekeeping or linen changes. Laundry services may be available for an additional fee.
- Exercise options. Many communities have fitness rooms or fully-equipped gyms, the use of which may be complementary to residents. Classes such as yoga or Pilates, or access to personal trainers, is usually an additional charge.
- Transportation. Buses or vans may be available to take residents grocery shopping or to off-site events like a museum visit or theater performance. Often these are pre-scheduled, group outings. There may be an extra charge for personal use, such as to medical appointments.
- On-site services. These may include a beauty salon/barber shop, restaurant, community dining room, or even physical therapy or massage services. These are typically provided at a la carte prices.
Costs vary by geographical location, size of apartment, and community amenities can range from $500 to several thousand per month. Be sure to ask about community fees and security deposits, prior to signing a lease. Also, you may have to pay extra for covered or heated indoor parking, storage, or for pets.
There are also a number of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsored independent senior housing options in most markets that offer affordable housing for those 55+. Residents qualify based on their income. Visit HUD.gov for more information.
Some communities will require a one-year lease, while others may offer a month-to-month lease. And, some have seasonal rates for snowbirds. Decide what works best for you.
Independent Senior Living
Independent senior living is different than senior apartments. Let’s explore how! Unlike senior apartments, independent senior living offers an apartment, townhome, or single-unit for those 55 or 62 years of age and older with service-rich offerings. These communities are considered “housing with services” and can be regulated by state health care laws. Many times independent living is available in the same building or campus setting with other living options such as assisted living or memory care.
More and more seniors are choosing independent living communities as the first step into a living situation that offers services. These communities are ideal for those who need minimal assistance with daily tasks yet desire living in a community with other seniors.
"The greatest part of living here is that I don’t have to buy groceries or cook! I can’t find a better way of saying that I am just content here. I am so happy."
-Betty, Terracina Grand resident
What Services and Amenities to Look For
Independent living services and amenities vary tremendously but listed below are the basics you’ll find at most. It’s a good idea to make a list of your personal requirements and “must haves” to add to this list. In most areas of the country, you’ll be able to find an ideal match. In some communities you can add on assisted living health care services without moving to a different apartment or out of the community. If this is important, check with the manager on what kind of license they operate under and what services are available.
- Utilities. Most Independent senior living rental fees will include gas, electric, water, trash, and recycling. Many now also include complimentary Wi-Fi in common areas and basic cable. Phone, expanded cable packages, and Wi-Fi for personal use such as streaming videos, shows or other online applications are the responsibility of the resident.
- Maintenance. Maintenance repairs and updates are usually covered, including in-home and appliance repairs, as well as exterior maintenance. Usually residents can add window treatments and accent wall colors out-of-pocket. There are usually restrictions on exterior changes or even hanging items on balconies.
- Groundskeeping. Communities are typically responsible for groundskeeping of communal areas. Some communities may include lawn mowing and snow removal on a resident’s property; in other cases, those may be provided at a la carte prices. Container plantings are encouraged but there may be restrictions on landscaping or in-ground gardening. Please check before you move-in.
- Housekeeping services. Some communities offer light housekeeping or linen changes. Laundry services may be available for an additional fee. Residents can add additional services either with a la carte charges or with monthly package costs.
- Dining. Most independent living communities offer restaurant-style dining. Some may have chefs preparing the food, while others may serve chef-inspired meals. Most communities however can accommodate special dietary needs. You will find many options for dining services. For example, a resident could purchase a one-, two-, or three-meal per day plan. Some communities include one or two meals per day in the monthly rent. Others work on a per-meal a la carte basis. If you expect to use on-site dining services, be sure to ask about the options and ability to change your plan once you really know how much you’ll use it.
- Fitness and Exercise. Many communities have fitness centers, and some even have pools, the use of which may be included in the rent. Sometimes there’s an additional fee (just as there would be for an off-site gym membership) if they offer a fully-equipped gym. Options such as yoga, stretching, Pilates, aerobic, boxing classes, or personal trainers are usually an additional cost.
- Programming. Most communities will have educational, cultural, spiritual, entertainment or social programing that residents can attend. A monthly or weekly calendar of events keeps everyone up-to-date. The cost for most of these offerings is included in the monthly rent.
- Transportation. Communities often have buses or vans available to take residents to off-site events like a museum visit or theater performance. These are usually pre-scheduled, group outings. Some communities have a la carte transportation options available for their residents on a per-trip fee basis.
- Medical services. Communities that feature “aging in place,” or a “continuum of care” will offer basic on-site health care services at an additional fee. A common service is medication management. Usually there are nurses and caregivers on staff for consultation into further cares and services. Some communities have a partnership with a physician’s group for access to medical doctors, if needed.
- On-site services. Some communities offer access to a beauty salon/barber shop, bistro or coffee shop, physical therapy, day spa and massage services, a movie theater, convenience store, and more. These are usually self-pay, just as they would be outside the community. It’s a good idea to make a list of additional amenities that are important to you. They could end up being the deciding factor in your community of choice.
Why not ask one of our residents? Betty, resident at Terracina Grand in Naples, FL, shares a typical day for her. Take a look!
The costs for independent senior living “with services” vary greatly by geographical market, between communities, by residence square footage, and whether the community is a buy-in, entrance deposit, or rental. Any additional services you opt for will also be a big consideration.
Before signing a lease, ask about additional community fees and security deposits, and extra charges for second persons (a spouse or partner living in the unit), parking, storage, or for pets.
Most independent living communities operate on a month-to-month lease with a 30-day notice. Buy-in communities require a large investment that may range from between $20,000 to over $1,000,000, but they allow the resident to move within the community to assisted living, memory care, or receive health care services in a skilled care setting (more on this later), as their needs change. Upon move-out the resident, or their designee, generally receive a percentage of the original amount back of up to 85% or more. Be sure to assess your financial needs before you sign any paperwork.
- Consider Senior Living Options Before a Crisis [VIDEO]
- Independent Living vs. Assisted Living: Which is Right for My Loved One?
- Senior Living Communities: What Questions Should You Prepare? [VIDEO]
- Meet Sylvia: I Will Keep Volunteering [VIDEO]
- Meet Barb: I Will Choose My Home [VIDEO]
Assisted living differs from independent living by typically offering a base of services in the monthly rent. Typically, assisted living residents, desire or require, regular assistance with daily activities.
“It’s peace of mind for myself, my daughter, and the family, knowing that mom is being taken care of and that she is having fun,”
-Clare, daughter of a Terracina Grand resident
Every state has its own regulations and licensing requirements for assisted living. A good resource can be accessed here to find the laws that apply to your state.
What Services to Look For
The services available in assisted living include and exceed the base independent living offerings and are geared toward helping residents with day-to-day needs. Services are tailored to the individual and are based on a one-on-one assessment, usually with a licensed nurse from the community. These may vary from minor or infrequent help to daily assistance with fundamental needs and are part of a personal “plan of care.”
- Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). A primary feature of assisted living communities is that they provide residents regular help with activities one needs to get through the day. These ADLs can include help with medication management, dressing, bathing, grooming, escorts and toileting assistance. Look for a full range of services, both for what you or your loved one needs now and what you may need in the future.
- Medical monitoring. Most communities offer basic medical monitoring and have licensed nurses on staff. Ask what medical services are available, as there may be some restrictions by state law.
- Meals. Most assisted living communities offer full meal plans as well as options for in-home delivery of meals for an extra charge. Many apartments in these communities have limited kitchen facilities, so residents often have two or three meals a day in the communal dining area.
- Medication management. An important service in assisted living is managing and administering medication. This can range from helping a resident sort and set-up their weekly medications, to reminding or administering medications throughout the day. Be sure to ask what the range of services are at the communities you’re considering.
- Safety checks. Another common feature of assisted living are daily safety checks in which a staff person will visit at least once-a-day to make sure everything is alright.
- Escort services. Escorts with a staff person may be available within the community for assistance in getting to meals or programs and activities.
- Emergency call system. Residents should always have the ability to notify staff if they need help. There are a range of options available from a regular phone to an alert system the resident wears, to a proprietary, in-house call system.
- Programming. Most states require assisted living communities to offer educational, cultural, spiritual, or entertainment programing. A monthly or weekly calendar of events keeps everyone up-to-date. The cost for most offerings is usually included in the monthly rent.
A Word about Group Homes
In most geographical areas, you will find small assisted living residential care homes that operate as a “group home.” These small settings offer personalized care usually for four to 12 persons in a house setting. Group homes are ideal for those who don’t like larger settings of traditional senior living communities/campuses, however, they typically do not offer as wide an array of life enrichment activities.
Costs for assisted living, like those for independent living, can vary significantly. Key factors again include geographic area, apartment size and whether it’s private or shared, and the level of health care services the resident needs. The national average for monthly assisted living fees, according to the 2019 Genworth survey, is $4,051. For high end assisted living communities in larger markets expect to pay up to $8,000 per month.
For month-to-month rental communities, ask about the initial fees and deposits and if there is a charge for the pre-move-in nursing assessment. There may also be additional charges for second persons, garage or covered parking, pets, or storage. In most communities, a doctor’s orders are required to receive assisted living services.
There are more choices for covering the monthly rent, and or services, in assisted living, than in independent living. In addition to private pay, many residents have long-term care insurance policies that may also cover assisted living services, and the Veterans Benefits Administration has a program for certain eligible veterans and survivors called Aid & Attendance, that provides an additional monetary pension benefit for qualified individuals. Ask the manager about these payment options when conducting your search.
Additional Assisted Living Resources
- Senior Living 101: What Can I Expect from an Assisted Living Community?
- Assisted Living Community: What to Look For? [VIDEO]
- Independent Living vs. Assisted Living: Which is Right for My Loved One?
Memory care is a specialized form of assisted living for those with Alzheimer’s, or other forms of dementia and memory loss. Memory care neighborhoods are usually secure, to ensure the safety of residents who may wander or seek exits, and these special units can exist within a larger senior living community or in a stand-alone building or even group home.
Someone may transition from assisted living, or even independent living, into memory care. It is common for residents to enter memory care directly after in-home caregiving becomes too difficult or costly. Often, a medical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia is required to be admitted to a memory care unit. Admission to memory care occurs after a journey of diminishing memory over time at home or in an independent or assisted living setting.
“When you are taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s, at some point in time, you know little things are going to start getting worse. For me, one of those was the first time she wandered. But when you do move your loved one into a memory care community, as much as you miss them, it’s a huge relief.”
-Garry, husband of a Villa at Terracina Grand resident
Before choosing a memory care option, it’s a good idea to know what services to look for and what questions to ask so that you can make the best decision for your loved one’s care.
What Memory Care Services to Look For
Wendy, daughter of a resident, shares her insight on what to look for in a memory care community.
The services available in memory care can vary significantly but there are some basics that every location should have.
- A secured area. One of the greatest dangers for memory care residents is a tendency to wander or to seek an exit. While it may seem unusual to a new visitor, memory care areas are secured for the protection and safety of their residents. Many leading memory care communities are designed and constructed to let residents fulfill their natural tendency to explore while prioritizing safety above all else.
- Smaller apartments. Most memory care apartments are studios or have limited square footage. The life enrichment programming within memory care neighborhoods occurs in the common areas and residents are encouraged to leave their apartments and participate in the activities in the larger common areas with staff and other residents.
- Specially trained nursing and support staff. Working with memory care residents requires specialized knowledge and ongoing training beyond that of ordinary assisted living. Often, caregivers in memory care are specially trained to communicate with residents effectively and may be licensed to prescribe and dispense medications.
- Help with ADLs. As memory loss progresses, a resident will need help with the activities of daily living, or ADLs. These include things like medication management, dressing, bathing, grooming, escorts and toileting assistance. There may be additional specific needs a resident has and a full range of services should be available to meet those needs. Many communities will include basic ADLs in the base monthly rent, or will offer packages with a mix of services at different and progressive levels.
- Programming. There are a wide range of options available at different communities. You should look for programs that include music and art therapy, animal therapy, exercise classes, aromatherapy, sing-alongs, board and card games, baking, movies, and field trips. Look for a new memory care trend of Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® approach for dementia care programming that focuses on individuals’ strengths and promotes opportunities for success each day.
- Comforting, pleasing environment. It’s important that memory care residents feel comfortable in their environment. Having a relaxed, attractively decorated and soothing environment is an important factor to find in memory care neighborhoods. Some communities may even have separate areas or rooms set aside that have soothing music, scents, waterfalls, aquariums, or aviaries that residents find relaxing and peaceful.
- Coordinated care team. The extended staff such as nurses, aides, social workers, care coordinators, and spiritual care directors, are able to work with family members to determine, design, and implement individualized care for each resident.
- Caregiver support groups. Most communities will host monthly gatherings for family members to come together, share their experiences, and find support. Many are going through the same emotional issues of being a loved one or family member of a person living with dementia, and caregiver support offers a holistic family approach.
Finding an Advocate
Researching, visiting, and deciding on memory care for a loved one can be a time consuming and emotional process. However, there are advocacy services that can help support and advise you along the way. These services work with communities in your area and, based on your specific needs, can advise you on which to look at first. Some can provide you with a one-on-one specialist who will accompany you on tours, introduce you to staff, and answer follow-up questions. A good way to find them is to search online for “memory care advisor” or “memory care specialist” and your zip code. One of the most respected service organization to help those dealing with dementia is the National Alzheimer’s Association which has chapters in all states and metro areas. Also, feel free to contact us at The Goodman Group as we would be honored to help you navigate through this journey.
You may also find helpful advice from:
- Friends or relatives, especially those who’ve been through a similar process
- Your loved one’s primary care physician or medical staff
- Social workers at hospitals or senior living communities
- Clergy or lay counselors at your place of worship
Someone like Garry, who commented on his wife’s quality of life after transitioning to a memory care community, can offer personal and valuable advice.
Because of the specialized training of the staff, the higher staff ratio to number of residents, and special needs of the residents, memory care is more expensive than assisted living. Average monthly fees range from $5,000 to $8,000, depending upon the geographic location. The cost can vary significantly based on many factors including geographic area, number of staff, services and amenities offered, private vs. semi-private rooms, and number of hours included in each level of care. Aside from private pay, costs may be covered by long-term care (LTC) insurance policies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Aid and Attendance program, or certain county programs based on Medicaid programs specific to your state or county.
- The Effects of Music Therapy for Memory Care Residents
- Addressing Guilt When Your Loved One Has Dementia [VIDEO]
- Memory Care: How to Ease the Transition for Your Loved One
Skilled nursing facilities provide short- and long-term medical and rehabilitative care, and 24-hour on-site staffing available for monitoring patients and residents. Short-term care is appropriate for those who have been discharged from a hospital, and whom are recovering from injury, illness, or surgery. Many times short-term care is called transitional care, as most patients are transitioning back home after receiving rehabilitation therapies. Long-term care is residential in nature, and offers on-going care services for the residents living in a skilled nursing facility.
What to Look For
Unlike independent or assisted living, you may not always have time to research and plan for skilled nursing care, as injury, accident or illness may proceed admission. Frequently, families rely on the recommendations of social workers, hospital staff, or other medical professionals when deciding on a skilled nursing location. There’s also help from Medicare and Medicaid.
The Five-Star Quality Rating System
To help families make an informed decision when choosing skilled nursing care, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) developed a rating system for skilled nursing facilities. Its Five-Star Quality Rating System is based on three criteria:
- Health Inspections. Trained inspectors review providers based on standards established by Medicare and Medicaid.
- Staffing. The ratio of nursing staff to residents, which determines the average amount of individualized attention each resident receives daily. This part of the rating is adjusted based on the level of care residents require. A location with residents that need a higher level of care would be expected to have a higher staff-to-resident ratio than a location where most of the residents require less care.
- Quality Measures. This part of the rating is based on 16 different physical and clinical measures for nursing home residents.
The system awards locations a 1- to 5-star rating based on how they measure up to the above criteria. According to CMS, “Nursing homes with 5 stars are considered to have much above average quality, and nursing homes with 1 star are considered to have quality much below average.”
Short-term care costs at a skilled nursing facility are dependent on the duration of a patient’s stay as well as the level of care required. Like independent and assisted living, costs will also vary based on geographic area and whether a room is private or semi-private (shared with one or more people).
All stays, whether short- or long-term, private or semi-private rooms, are based on a daily rate. Payment for short-term care can be through a number of options including Medicare, private pay, or payment through an insurance or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan. Long-term care payment can be private pay, through a long-term care insurance policy, or through local Medicaid programs that are administered by the state and county, and managed by county case managers. Also, the Veterans Benefits Administration offers contracts to select skilled nursing facilities to cover cares and therapies for veterans. Be sure to ask about this if appropriate. National averages, according to the Genworth 2019 survey, start at $242 per day for a shared room and $275 per day for a private room.
Many seniors opt to stay in their own homes rather than move to a senior living community. However, they may still need or want assistance. A variety of organizations can assist seniors in their own homes. Home health care agencies can provide a variety of health care services, and non-medical companion services can help people with cooking, cleaning, and other home-making services.
What Services to Look For
For home care, it’s best to start by making a list of the services that are most important for you or your loved one. Break the list down into categories, arranged by priority:
- Medical needs. Do you or your loved one need help organizing or taking medication? Do you need regular help monitoring a medical condition like high blood pressure or diabetes? Is there a need for short- or longer-term wound care?
- ADLs. What activities of daily living (ADLs) might you or your loved one need help with? These can include medication management, dressing, bathing, grooming, escorts and toileting assistance, which may be needed daily.
- Non-Medical Services. Don’t forget less frequent non-medical needs like cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, pet care, or transportation to medical appointments.
- Home maintenance. Do you need help with snow removal, mowing, gardening or other regular home maintenance tasks?
- Companion services. While many seniors love being in their own home, sometimes that can lead to isolation. Consider if you or your loved one would like to have someone drop in periodically just for a chat, afternoon tea, or a game of cards. Some services even offer 24-hour staffing for this, or live-in care providers.
Home Care Costs
Home care for medical services is usually ordered through a physician, and if the services are an extension of recovery after a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay, costs may be covered by Medicare or Medicaid. According to Genworth’s 2019 national survey, visits by licensed staff can average approximately $87.50 per visit. Also, find out if you need to pay for travel time.
- When At-Home Caregiver Costs Become Too Much
- Fall Prevention: Bathroom Safety Tips for Your Aging Parents
- Why You Should Consider Taking a Daily Walk
Adult Day Services
While many seniors are able to and want to live in their own homes or with relatives, it can sometimes be isolating, especially if you’re living alone or the family members you live with work during the day. Adult day care services are designed to help fight solitude and loneliness. And, adult day care centers also give in-home caregivers a short break. Most locations offer half-day and full-day options, and most are flexible with how often a senior comes.
What to Look For
Adult day care services are often located in community centers, churches or synagogues, or within senior living communities. These locations provide social engagement in addition to meals, activities and health care services. Each location will be a little different but there are some services that most will have:
- Programming. One of the top benefits of adult day care is the social engagement that seniors can share. Most locations offer card and board games, art therapy, exercise classes, and sometimes even field trips.
- Nutritious meals. Depending on how long you’re staying, most locations offer breakfast and lunch, as well as healthy snacks. Most also welcome seniors bringing their own snacks or favorite beverages.
- Personal care. Adult day care services usually can help with personal hygiene, bathing and grooming. There is always help using walkers, wheelchairs, or other assistive devices.
- Nursing care and monitoring. This will vary by location, but often nursing staff is available and can offer assistance with taking medications. If you have specific needs, it’s a good idea to ask about those upfront.
Usually adult day services charge by the full- or half-day. There may be a la carte charges for some services such as transportation or special diet meals. According to Genworth, the national average adult day care cost in 2019 was $1,625 per month. Again, payment options vary by location. Private pay is always an option but local Medicaid programs, or programs through the Veterans Benefits Administration, may cover a part or all of the incremental costs.
Respite care is short-term or temporary care and housing for a loved one, usually when their caregiver needs a rest or plans to be absent due to vacation or travel. Respite is also appropriate for those who need additional short-term help after a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay. And, as a trial stay, respite is also a great opportunity for a senior to “try out” a senior living community.
Respite Care in A SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY
The most common form of respite care is when an older adult moves into a senior living community for a limited period of time: from a few days to a week, a month, and sometimes longer. In those cases, the services available will be everything that assisted living usually offers, including:
- A furnished apartment including linens, towels, and kitchen items
- Nutritious meals each day
- Medication management
- Social activities and outings
- Help with activities of daily living (ADLs)
- Laundry and housekeeping
You’ll want to assess the different options available in your area. Using our article on Assisted Living (above) can help get you started.
Respite care services in senior living communities typically range from $125 to $300 dollars per day. Costs will vary by location, and the types of services needed. Sometimes care services are included in the day rate, but often this is a separate fee based on an assessment by the facility’s licensed nursing staff.
Senior Condos and Co-ops
Some seniors, who are really independent, want to live in a congregate setting with others, but don’t want to pay rent or a monthly fee. Rather, they want to build equity and have ownership and more control over their apartment or townhouse. Thus, an age-restricted condominium or cooperative community might be a sensible choice.
These senior communities operate on the same concept as non-age restricted condos and co-ops, and also function under the direction of a Home Owner Association (HOA), who in turn usually hires a manager to operate the community’s day-to-day business.
What to Look For
Senior condo or co-op living is not recommended for those who don’t want to be responsible for operating a building or planning repair and renovation budgets. Also, those seniors who want flexibility (ability to move with a 30-day notice) may prefer the other rental options explored above. Sometimes reselling a condo or co-op can take time (as the HOA board has to approve the buyer prior to move-in), so the owner is responsible to continue to pay the mortgage or the monthly HOA fee even after move-out.
Costs for Condos and Co-ops
Be sure to get pricing, floor plans and a list of health care services. Find out about community fees, deposits, other charges and payment or reimbursement options. Ask about annual increases, as well. Make sure the staff person who tours you asks you to schedule the next step. This shows they care about you and want to build a relationship with you or your loved one.
The Importance of Touring
When considering a new setting – senior apartment, assisted living, skilled nursing facility, adult day care or respite stay – the best and only way to determine a perfect fit with you or your loved one, is to request a tour. Tours allow you to meet the staff, see the building, observe the residents and programs, try the food, and get an overall feel for the location.
When on a tour, keep an eye out for these details:
- Location and curb appeal. Is there parking for visitors? Are the grounds and entrance clean and maintained?
- Staff and residents. How are you greeted? Are you asked what you want to see prior to touring? Are the staff friendly? Do residents seem happy?
- Bricks and mortar. Is the location clean? How does it smell? Are furnishings and carpet/flooring maintained? Is the atmosphere pleasant? Has it been recently updated?
- Apartments or rooms. Is it private or shared with another? Square footage? Does bathroom have a shower or tub? Is there a kitchen area? Washer/dryer? Closets or storage?
- Dining. Is the dining area clean? Is it open or assigned seating? Anytime dining or scheduled times for each meal? Review the menu options. Ask residents if they like the food.