Seven Reasons to Take a Tour of Any Prospective Retirement Communities


Finding the right senior living community for you or your loved one is an important and personal decision. 

Whether you’re touring independent living, assisted living, or memory-support communities, the environment in which your loved one will live on a daily basis will have a significant impact on their overall well-being.

Virtual tours, brochures, and phone inquiries are great tools to help you get better acquainted with a community. However, nothing can replace an in-person visit.

Here are seven reasons a tour is so important to your decision-making process.

You’ll gain a better sense of your options and which one best suits your needs

There are a variety of options available when it comes to senior living. Visiting a community will give you a better understanding of the care levels each community offers, along with helping you to identify which option best suits your wants and needs. 

Some of the Senior Star communities offer continuing care, meaning you can adjust your level of care as your needs change. 

Visiting in person will also give you a better idea of what it might look like if you need to transition between levels of care.

You can assess cleanliness and security

Photos are important, but a tour will reveal whether a community is a fresh, clean, and inviting place to live.

This is also a good opportunity to learn more about housekeeping, maintenance, laundry services, and security. 

Some questions to consider:

  • How is the community secured?
  • What medical services are available? And how accessible is help?
  • How do staffing patterns differ between night and day?
  • For residents with dementia, are there emergency alert systems, enclosed courtyards, or color-coded hallways to simplify navigation?

You can observe daily life

A website or brochure can give you a sense of a community’s activities and outings, but an in-person visit provides meaningful insight into engagement levels.

Do community members participate in activities and social events? Do they appear involved and happy?

These considerations also apply to the staff working in a prospective community. Do staff members smile and make eye contact with you and with community members? Are their exchanges with each other and community members positive? Has their community been recognized as a positive place to work

You’ll get a feel for the community’s culture and atmosphere

Have you ever just walked into a place and felt a sense of warmth and welcoming? When it comes to choosing a senior living community, there’s nothing more important than finding one that feels right.

While websites and brochures offer a glimpse of what life is like in a particular senior living community, the feeling of a place can sometimes only be conveyed in person. 

Ultimately, visiting a senior living community lets you experience the atmosphere of that community for yourself.

You might consider taking part in a group activity or class, like bingo or a social hour, to see how residents interact with each other and with staff.

You can see a prospective living space in person

Your apartment will be your new home. It’s easy to find the floor plan, square footage, and photos online, but walking through different living spaces is far more informative. It’s easier to imagine furniture layouts and evaluate the size of rooms and storage space while you’re touring a model apartment. 

Take note of the features offered for the floorplan you’re interested in.

Some questions to consider:

  • Do you plan to cook most of the time or do you prefer the restaurant-style dining options?
  • Does it offer a kitchen or kitchenette? If you still like to cook or prepare some of your meals, then make sure a kitchen is on your priority list.
  • Are there privacy covers or blinds on the windows? 
  • What does parking look like?
  • What are the outdoor spaces like? Are there walking paths or courtyards?
  • Does your apartment have any safety features?
  • Are there common areas where you can meet friends or host events?

You can sample the food and dining room experience

If possible, schedule your visit during a meal. In addition to tasting the food, you can determine if the dining space is welcoming.

Are residents interacting with each other while enjoying their food? Can the kitchen accommodate any dietary requirements or preferences you have? Is there flexibility with the time you take your meals?

If you can, ask community members about their experiences and opinions. What they share will be valuable insight.

You’ll have a chance to ask questions in person

Finally, a tour provides a chance to ask face-to-face questions. As you walk through the community you may think of new things to ask about. 

When you meet residents and staff, you’ll have the opportunity to get a variety of opinions. Everyone’s needs are different, so the best thing to do is to gather as much information as you can.

When is the right time to tour a retirement community?

Even if the move to a senior living community still feels like it’s in the far-off future, proactively looking into retirement senior living communities can help ensure you have options when you are ready to move. 

It’s never too early to start exploring what communities might be a good fit for you. When you start early you have the time to take as many tours as you would like. You can also plan ahead for the costs of senior living.

Are you ready to schedule a tour?

Check out our ebook: 5 Signs of a Stellar Assisted Living Community, or download our guide Financial Planning for Retirement Living

Please, contact us. We are here to answer any questions you may have.