Are you going on a tour of an independent living community soon or thinking about touring an independent living community in the future? A tour of a potential new home is important — you need to know what to look out for.
8 Things to Look for When Touring an Independent Living Community
Karen Miear, Director of Resident Services at St. Francis Center for Assisted Living, gave us her best observations to make note of when you go on your next tour:
- Examine their activities/life enrichment opportunities. Is this a place that you think you could never be bored? Are there plenty of options for you to socialize with other residents?
- What does the place look like? What does it smell like? Does it look — and smell — like a place you could see yourself living in? Like a potential future home?
- Walk in unannounced — if they are unable to take you for a tour, set up an appointment. This technique works to your advantage in several ways. This way, if by chance you’re just driving by, you can make a quick stop without having to go through the hoops of planning. And, when you go there, you’ll be able to see them on an ordinary day — probably without the put-togetherness of a planned tour. This could give you a more honest look at the community.
- Do you see a lot of happy faces, both residents and staff? This is important. You want to see happy people all around. Happy staff means they love their jobs and enjoy what they do. Happy residents mean the staff are doing their job well, and they are entertained well.
- What kind of feel do you get for the place — what vibes are you sensing? This really doesn’t need explanation because it’s all instinctual. Do you feel comfortable? Or is there some unexplainable detail that bothers you?
- Do you see residents around LIVING their lives? Talk with them! Are the residents strolling about, doing as they please? This is definitely something you’ll want to keep an eye out for — you may not feel happy in your new home if no one else seems to be.
- Do staff speak/acknowledge each other? Seeing the staff interact positively with each other is just as crucial. They make up a substantial fraction of the environment of the community, after all.
- Examine samples of menus. Of course, food is important, too. You’ll want to know that you’ll like the food at this place you’re considering.
For the most part — these observations speak for themselves. You want your prospective home to smell nice; you want the people to be kind and fun to be around; you want the food options to be something you would enjoy.
You want what’s best for you, and we do too! This is your future home we’re talking about — you don’t want to settle for second-best.