Moving to Independent Living? Questions to Ask When You Visit

independent living

Ready to give up the hassles of home maintenance and embark on a carefree, maintenance-free lifestyle where you can do as you please? If the answer is yes, then you’re a perfect candidate for independent living, and you probably are already making a list of communities to visit. Before you do, consider also listing what you’d like to know, what questions come to mind, and any details that will help you in your decision-making process.

Moving to independent living:  questions to ask on your visit.

Who are the residents? Ask about the average age, male-female ratio and percentage of couples versus singles in the community. What’s the atmosphere of the community:  relaxed and casual, or a bit more formal and refined? You want to find to be sure you’ll feel at home and be able to make friends and enjoy the company of those around you, so don’t be shy to ask for a snapshot of those who live there.  

What services are provided? Which cost extra? Some communities charge a flat monthly rent for a variety of services and others provide more services a la carte. Are utilities included in the rent? What about Internet and cable TV? Is scheduled transportation to physician’s appointments complimentary or is there a fee? Make sure you know if your residence will have a washer and dryer, or if you’ll be using a communal laundry room. Some communities offer add-on services (with an extra fee) such as the delivery of a newspaper to your door. Ask for a detailed list so that you know what will be an out-of-pocket expense and what will be included before moving to independent living. 

What safety measures are in place? As senior living communities begin to return to a “new normal,” it’s still a good idea to find out what that means for you. Ask what percentage of the residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as what other protocols are in place. Are masks required and if so, under what circumstances? Any restrictions on group activities or dining? Also, be sure to inquire about safety requirements for visitors.

What’s on the activities calendar? Be sure you ask for a copy of a calendar and find out how well-attended some of the events were. Do you see activities that interest you? If something is missing, ask if residents can start their own clubs or regular events. Is there anything scheduled for evenings and weekends, or is it just during the day or during the week? Ask about holiday events as well. Also, find out about special outings to areas of interest.  If you’re a patron of arts, find out if the group goes to museums or galleries. If you love music, ask about area symphonies and concerts.  

Dining: what’s on the menu?  On a tour, it’s always a good idea to sample the food and get a first-hand feel for the dining venues. Ask how many meals are provided daily. Do you have to eat at specific times? Can you sit where you like? What if you’re not feeling well, can you have a meal in your residence? Find out how special diet needs are accommodated. Observe the wait staff when you tour a dining venue as well those being served—does it look like everyone is enjoying the experience?

What kind of transportation is available? Independent living communities usually offer a regular van or motorcoach for taking groups to shop, lunch events or other special excursions. When it comes to scheduled transportation, ask about the policy. Is there a limit on how far you can be taken? Is personal transportation only available on certain days? Is it complimentary?

What if you need extra care?  Moving to independent living assumes you have a high degree of independence. But if you were to require some additional assistance in your residence, you want to know your options. Does the community provide an aide for a fee? Can you bring in your own assistance? Ask if there is any restriction to receiving supportive care in your independent living residence (without having to move to assisted living). 

Find out now, and moving to independent living will be a smooth process.  

As you begin visiting communities, you’ll likely come up with even more questions. That’s good! Keep refining your list and get the answers you need—so you can be sure to choose the lifestyle you want.


Fully enjoy the freedom of retirement:  Independent Living at Senior Star could be just right for you. We’d love to tell you more about our exceptional community. Call us today. And download our free guide: Should You Stay Or Should You Go: How to Decide Between Home and Senior Living. We are here to help you.