Choosing the right senior living facility for a loved one is an important decision, so you want to make sure you have all the right information.
It's a wise idea to visit several different senior housing communities and tour them. To get the most out of your visits, you should know how to spot signs of a good or bad senior housing community by keeping your eyes and ears open.
When you tour senior housing communities, note how the lobby, living spaces and dining hall make you feel. Print out one of our checklists for independent living, assisted living, nursing homes or continuing care retirement communities to take with you and provide some quick focus points.
Then start looking for good and bad signs, like these:
You won't be able to see everything during a tour. Be sure to ask your tour guide about things you can't see, with questions like these:
If your guide does not know the answer to a specific question, they should be able to refer you to someone who does. At the end of the tour, politely remind them to do so.
Hang out for a bit in the dining hall or a common room. Listen in on conversations. If the residents appear to be in good spirits, it's a good sign. If they're complaining about the community, that's not a good sign.
If you can, talk with a resident and listen to their feelings about the facility.
Listen for cordial conversation between staff and residents--do the staff members call the residents by name? Or are they impersonal?
You want a senior housing facility with a warm, community atmosphere. Most importantly, listen for laughter and good conversation--the more, the better.
Read the rest of our 7-Step Guide to Senior Housing:
1. Recognize If Your Parents Need a Change
2. Learn About Types of Senior Living Communities
3. Assess Your Financial Options
4. Tour Senior Living Communities
5. Know These Senior Housing Lease Clauses
6. Make a Senior Housing Community Feel Like Home
7. Manage the Emotional Toll of a Parent's Move