Planning a Visit
Once you have a short list of communities in which you could see yourself, or your loved one, living, it’s time to visit in person. To help you weigh all the pros and cons, and ensure you’re comparing apples to apples, we encourage you to download and bring along the comprehensive checklist we’ve provided below. It will serve as an excellent guideline for what to inspect during your visit and will help you organize all the information you gather from different communities. Having all your notes in order will help you, your loved one, or your whole family make a decision.
Take note of all the features and conveniences of the community, and see how they stack up to your must-haves. Record your comments on everything from staff availability and storage to scheduled transportation and security.
Download a checklist
Community Services Checklist questions include:
- How many meals are available each day?
- Is there a pet policy?
- What are the guest accommodations like?
- How frequent are the housekeeping services?
Clarifying all of the “fine print” prior to moving in is critical to knowing what you'll be expected to pay for in the immediate future as well as what you could potentially be paying for later down the road should you decide to make any changes to your living situation.
Contract & Fees Checklist questions include:
- What is the true length of the lease (short-term, long-term, exact)?
- What are my billing and payment options?
- Is there a Second Occupant Fee?
- What is the Contract Termination Policy and Move-out Policy?
Keep your eye out for all the little things that you notice as you tour the community. You're shopping for your next home, so ensure that everything from the grounds' cleanliness and staff's attitude to the residents' activity level and interaction meet your own standards and expectations.
Visit & Tour Checklist questions include:
- Was the floor plan easy to navigate?
- Did the staff acknowledge your presence and say hello?
- How did the food taste?
- Were residents seen using the activity and game rooms?
Take note of how you find the apartments—and specifically how safe and comfortable you feel once inside them. After all, you'll be spending a fair amount of time here and should the unexpected happen, you want to know you have help arriving immediately.
Apartment Checklist questions include:
- Is there a kitchenette available?
- Are appliances provided and/or permitted?
- How sufficient is the natural and artificial light?
- Are there emergency pull cords and/or an emergency response system?
The experience of living in a retirement community is highly dependent on the people who work there. Therefore, your first impressions of the staff are critical. Ask plenty of questions to determine how passionate and involved they are in taking care of residents.
Staff Checklist questions include:
- Was the staff friendly, respectful and personable?
- Was the staff dressed appropriately?
- What is the number of staff members on-duty each day?
- Was the staff able to answer your questions clearly and sufficiently?
Observing how residents interact with the staff, each other and the community space is a good measure of whether any one particular community will be the right fit for you. If you can, have a conversation with a current resident and ask for an honest opinion.
Residents Checklist questions include:
- Did residents socialize with each other?
- Did residents seem to be appropriate neighbors for you or your loved one?
- Did residents appear to be happy and comfortable?
- Are visits with residents welcome at any time?
What are your overall feelings after having toured the entire site? How would you grade the community? Capture your final thoughts and remember: You have a lot of choices, so don't settle for anything less than you deserve.
Your Response Checklist questions include:
- What was your feeling when you visited the community?
- Did you have any other observations that were important to note?
- What are your thoughts and feelings about the visit?
- Is there any additional information you'd like to have that you didn't receive in your first visit?
Ready to start? Use the search tool to find a community near you.