Deciding on an assisted living community is a big decision—and it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers just yet. As you begin your search, determine what matters most to you in your new community.

For example, do you value social interaction? What additional care do you need on a daily basis? Are you interested in on-site activities? No matter what you’re looking for, preparing ahead of time is helpful before visiting any communities. For starters, we recommend asking the following seven essential questions at each stop on your list:

1. What is the top priority in your community?

All assisted living communities should prioritize residents’ health and overall wellness. Go into the touring process with a “must-have” or non-negotiables list, and ask how they can meet your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask many questions of staff and residents. Use your tour to feel the environment’s energy: look for an overall positive attitude among residents and staff.

2. What levels of care are offered?

Senior living communities provide various types of care, from independent living to assisted living, and memory care. If you or your loved one’s needs change, you will feel at ease knowing they are cared for within their current community. No moving required. Having continued care options available can be hugely beneficial. During your tour, ask about the various levels of care available and work with staff to determine which level is right for you or your loved one.

3. What on-site amenities are available to residents?

Senior living is meant to make life easier for older adults. Be sure your community is equipped with all the amenities to help you live your best life. Ask if services like housekeeping and transportation are available—you don’t want to spend retirement stressing about chores. Ask what a typical day is like for residents, including dining, activities, and general support. If on-site amenities like a gym, salon, or game room are on the “must-have” list, be sure to ask about a tour!

4. What are your dining options?

To many people, the food available in their senior living community is a top priority. Inquire about meal plans, various dining options, and eating spaces. Request a sample menu or ask if you can even dine at the facility to test the eats! Determine how much variety is offered and what is covered in a typical meal (i.e., beverages and food quantity). You may also need to ask how staff work to meet dietary needs or how food is served to those with mobility issues.

5. What are the living spaces like?

On your tour, you will see at least one room or apartment within the community. Ask for a copy of the floor plans or look them up ahead of time online. Determine if the spaces come furnished or if you’ll bring your own furniture. Picture your belongings in the space and try to imagine yourself living there. Take note of how you will move about in the rooms, how much privacy you will have, and where visitors will spend their time.

6. How much does it cost and what are your payment options?

One of the biggest questions when researching senior living facilities is cost. You will certainly want to discuss the financial aspect of senior living while on your tour. Here are just a few things you may want to ask:

  • What does (or doesn’t) the monthly fee include?
  • Is there an initial entrance or moving fee?
  • How often do rates increase? When was the last increase?
  • What type of payment plans are available?

Before making a move, thoroughly review all contracts. Look for total transparency in the community’s pricing and inquire about ambiguous areas. You may even be surprised to learn that senior living is a better financial choice than in-home health.

7. How do you keep residents safe in your community?

With safety as a top priority, the senior living community should have an abundance of safety protocols and equipment in place. Ask for a copy of the community emergency plan. Inquire about 24/7 on-site care: is there a nurse or other certified staff available in case of emergencies? Take note if the living and communal spaces are equipped with call buttons and non-skid floors. Be sure to also ask how rooms and the overall facility are secured.

Be Prepared for Your Assisted Living Tour

You may begin your search for a new living community by browsing websites or driving by the building. However, nothing beats an in-person tour. Visiting gives you essential knowledge and an overall feel for the community. Decide what matters most to you or your loved one, and be prepared with a list of questions to ask when touring the facilities.

Vineyard Senior Living Communities have plenty of on-site amenities, dining options, care levels, and floor plans. We are confident that our staff will meet the needs of our residents and that you will love life at Vineyard. Call today to schedule your tour: we will be sure to answer any and all questions that you might have about senior living.