Senior couple speaking with advisor

Questions to Ask While Touring a Senior Living Community

A community tour is one of the best possible ways to discover if a senior living community would be a good fit for you. You get to walk the grounds for yourself, explore residences, and see the lifestyle firsthand. But one of the best reasons to take a tour is to get answers to your questions. To help you evaluate the communities you visit, we’ve outlined important questions to ask when touring a senior living community.

10 Questions to Ask When Touring a Senior Living Community

1. What are the contract options?

If you’re moving as an active senior, the most comprehensive and forward-thinking contract option will be LifeCare®. Ask whether they offer this residency agreement, and if they do, how a new resident can qualify. LifeCare is considered the gold standard of senior living health care contracts, as it assures a resident that if they ever need additional levels of care, they’ll have these services and receive them at about the same monthly fee they pay in independent living. Residents know where they will receive care, who will provide it, and what it will cost. When residents choose a LifeCare plan, they pay a one-time entrance fee (sometimes called “entry fee” or “buy-in fee”) and a monthly fee that doesn’t substantially change as their health needs change. That means if they need additional care, there’s no guesswork. The costs are predictable, and they can stay in the community they’ve grown to know as home.

Some communities won’t offer LifeCare, but they still may offer equity ownership or some sort of refund option on their entrance fee at the end of the contract — protecting your assets even further. Other senior living communities only offer a rental contract, meaning your upfront costs may be lower, but your expenses will likely go up considerably if you need higher levels of senior care.

2. What floor plans are available?

A community will probably offer a number of floor plan options to suit various lifestyles and budgets. Ask to see which options are currently available. Some floor plans may be more popular and, if your preferred residence is one of them, you might need to sign up for a waitlist.

3. What are the dining plan and food like?

Great food is a key factor in a fulfilling lifestyle, and communities have wide-ranging approaches to dining. Go ahead and put dining questions at the top of your list of questions to ask when touring a senior living community. Inquire about how many meals are covered in the dining plan. Then find out more about the chef’s approach to food — where do they source ingredients; how do they accommodate specialty diets; do they consult a dietitian or nutritionist when planning menus?

4. What is the wellness philosophy at the community?

True wellness is more than eating vegetables. Each part of your life can serve a different aspect of your wellness. Discover how the community inspires fitness, social connection, intellectual stimulation, and a sense of purpose among their residents. Will it be easy to live a fulfilling lifestyle on the campus you’re touring?

5. Is there a sample activities calendar?

With the freedom retirement provides, a senior living community should provide activity options that make your days more fun and interesting. Peruse a monthly activity calendar to see which options interest you. If you have a particular passion and don’t see it represented on the calendar, ask if residents can establish new clubs.

6. What sort of services and amenities are included?

If you’re ready for a maintenance-free lifestyle, extensive community services allow you to enjoy a clean, optimized environment while you do more of what you love. Amenities like an indoor pool, art studio, pickleball court and walking trails offer more options to make every day more interesting.

7. What transportation services does the community provide?

Even if you want to bring cars with you to a senior living community, transportation services are very helpful for doctors’ appointments — especially appointments where you may have trouble driving yourself. You may have dilated eyes or a temporary mobility challenge. Many couples who move to senior living together take the opportunity to pare down to just one car.

8. What sort of safety features are available?

One of the biggest benefits of community living is the comforting sense of security. Find out about the ongoing security services and emergency response systems. You’ll know you’re safe when you’re at the community and your residence and belongings will be safe while you’re traveling.

9. Is the community pet-friendly?

For many people, one of the first questions to ask when touring a senior living community is “Can I bring my pet?” Find out as soon as possible if your winged or four-legged family members can come with you.

If you’re interested in retiring near the Twin Cities, we would love to show you around Trillium Woods. There’s a lot to learn on our website, but a personal visit will show you the true warmth and beauty of our community. If you’d like to come by, contact us to schedule an appointment.