Comparing Senior Living Communities


It’s an exciting endeavor: embarking on a discovery mission to find the lifestyle that is right for you. There’s a lot to learn and much to consider, especially as senior living communities begin to get back to normal. And, just like choosing anything new, you want to be sure you’ve covered your bases and made the right choice. 

Comparing senior living communities:  How to find out what you need to know 

Decide what matters most to you.

You’re in an exciting phase of life with endless opportunities waiting for you. What do you most want out of life? More free time to revisit a familiar hobby, or the resources to try to do something new, like painting? Maybe having lots of outdoor space attracts you. Or, your interests might lean towards a location that’s close to friends and family so you can be a more active grandparent. Each community has its personality, just as you do. Comparing senior living communities is a way to find one that fits.

Do your research.

There’s a great deal of information out there about senior living options. Websites, articles, brochures, research papers, blogs, and more. Spend some time becoming familiar with the lifestyle options so that you know what is usually included in independent living, assisted living, and memory support. Most senior living community websites let you download a brochure, activities calendar, sample menu and more so you can see what life is like. They should also be ready to supply updates on their safety measures and how they are continuing to follow rigorous guidelines to help protect residents and visitors. Having this detail will help you focus on which communities appeal most to you. 

Check out their reputation.

Consult with your financial advisor or attorney to see if they have information on the community and its management company. Do some searching online for any news. Ask about their licensure and if the community has achieved CARF Accreditation (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation). Find out how long the executive staff has been on site and if any changes are expected soon.

Look at their Facebook page and online videos.

Is Facebook current with photos of events and activities? Does there seem to be a lot going on? Browse through some posts—you’ll be able to quickly assess if people look happy, connected and satisfied. See if the community has any videos on its own website. This can be helpful for taking a peek inside the community before you even visit. 

Talk to residents.

Ask them what their daily life is like, do they enjoy the dining experience, are activities interesting and engaging, do they feel like it’s a welcoming community and so on. If you can’t have direct access to residents or your time with them is limited, simply observe the behavior of the residents who cross your path. Do they look happy?  

Make a checklist and take it with you when you visit.

Try to narrow down your most important topics so you can write down any comments you have on each. This will make comparing senior living communities much easier. For example:

  • Levels of care available?
  • Staff members: friendly, approachable, helpful?
  • Ambiance: welcoming, inviting, warm?
  • Safety measures: percentage of residents vaccinated? Social distancing in place?
  • Amenities, grounds, building:  clean? Could you feel at home here? 
  • Activities:  well-attended?  Available day and night?  Full calendar?
  • Dining:  pleasing venue?  Good food?  A variety of meal options from which to choose?  
  • Pets:  allowed?  Places for walking?
  • Residences:  variety of floor plans? Features you are looking for (balcony, patio, walk-in closet, etc.)?  
  • Location:  convenient to shopping, physicians, sites of interest?  Near family and friends?  
  • Fees and costs: what’s included in the monthly service fee? Payment options?

These are just a start. Take the time to think of the key things you want in senior living and take your checklist to each community when visiting, even if it’s a virtual tour.

Talk with your family.

Share information with trusted family members and listen to their thoughts. Consider taking one or two family members with you on a tour. They will be able to look for things you might forget to ask about.   

Visit again. And again.

Don’t be shy to go back as many times as you like, preferably at different times of the day and evening. You’ll get a more realistic feel for some things when you’re not on an official tour. Comparing senior living communities is important, and it can be fun as well—you’re shopping for your preferred choice of carefree living!

Schedule a virtual or in-person tour to meet our team and learn more about life in a Senior Star community. Our goal for your visit is to make sure you experience the things that are of most interest to you. The 

Questions about Senior Star and its senior living communities? Contact us.

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