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Questions to Ask When Touring Independent Living Communities

Sep 10, 2022|Independent Living

Seniors smiling in hall

One of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make as a retiree could be choosing the right independent living community. There’s so much to consider, from dining, pricing and amenities to services and everything in between. This means it’s essential to learn as much as you can about any independent living community you’re considering.

If you are on the journey to find the perfect independent senior living community for yourself or a loved one, on-site tours are a necessity. That way you can see for yourself if the community has first-class amenities, well-appointed common areas, spacious residences and inspiring programs.

Tips for Touring Independent Living Communities

This is a big decision. In fact, moving to an independent senior living community can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. The right community opens new doors for personal growth and connection while providing a vibrant and safe space to live out your golden years.

You deserve as much information as you need to make the decision. No question should feel too big or too small, and you shouldn’t be shy about seeking answers. People who ask questions get more answers, which present you with the information you need to make the best possible decision.

Here is a checklist of questions to ask when touring independent senior living communities. These questions will help you determine if a community is right for you.

1.     What Are the Accommodations Like?

You don’t want to live somewhere that doesn’t feel like home, so exploring a community’s residential areas, like apartments and common areas, can help you answer the question “does it feel like home?” Ask about the living quarters, how much privacy you can expect, what personal items you can bring, if any items are prohibited and when visitors are allowed.

Independent living is suited for active adults who don’t need assistance with daily life. Most of these communities don’t offer additional care like assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care, so be sure you understand what level of care you need first.

For older adults wanting a more hands-on approach to independent living, Hawthorn Senior Living has many communities that feature live-in managers who support and serve residents throughout the day.

Most communities offer a wide range of living arrangements in various sizes, layouts and locations. Do you want to be located near the hustle and bustle of community life, or would you prefer an apartment in a quieter location of the community?

Consider where you’ll be happiest and in what kind of floor plan – do you need an extra bedroom for guests, or an office space? Then ask to see an apartment similar to the one you want to live in. Imagine your possessions in the home. Other questions to ask staff and yourself include:

  • Do you have a warm feeling being in the community?
  • Is the community a place you could imagine calling home?
  • Is the community nice? Would you be proud to live there?
  • Are the community grounds, landscape and building exterior well maintained?
  • What is the parking like?
  • What types of apartments are available?
  • What type of security and safety measures does the community have in place?
  • Are there common areas for residents to socialize and spend time?
  • Is the community easy to navigate and accessible to less mobile residents?

2.    What Kind of Activities, Services and Amenities Are Available?

One of the main reasons active adults choose independent living communities is to engage in more social opportunities. The benefits of independent living communities are plentiful and provide fun activities, events and programs that help residents live with purpose. See if the community supports the kind of activities you like to do or would like to do.

Are you a hiker or swimmer? Do you practice yoga, play bridge or enjoy gardening? Does the community have an art room or woodworking shop? Are there classes and opportunities to continue learning and growing?

Ask to see their activities calendar, or even better, ask if you can attend a fitness class, happy hour event or craft class. Do people look happy and engaged? This way you can see firsthand what is offered while also meeting the people who already call the community home.

It’s also important to ensure the community has a great dining program, catered to your taste and preference. How many dining venues are there? What kind of food is served? Did you enjoy a meal? Be sure to enjoy a meal at each community on your short list. See what the service is like in the dining room. Other factors to consider:

  • Ask for a complete list of service offerings
  • Is the community pet-friendly?
  • Does the community offer housekeeping?
  • How does the community track resident happiness?
  • How does the community welcome a new resident?
  • Does the community offer transportation services?

3.    What Are the Costs of Senior Living?

Finances are a major factor in your decision. After you’ve taken a tour and decided that a community is on your list of top choices, ask for a breakdown of the costs. Some questions to consider:

  • Is there an entrance fee?
  • What is the base price? Is this per year or per month?
  • How are costs paid, and will they change over time?
  • Are utilities, like cable, internet, electricity, water, gas, sewer, included in the price?
  • Are there added fees for services or activities?
  • Are meals included in the price?

For example, at Hawthorn communities, our month-to-month rent provides financial benefits and peace of mind, as residents know there won’t be any unexpected expenses. Most communities include:

  • Electricity, gas, water and sewer
  • Local transportation
  • Basic cable
  • Three chef-prepared meals daily
  • Caring live-in managers available 24/7
  • Planned activities and special events
  • Weekly housekeeping and linen service

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

People who ask a lot of questions get the answers they are looking for. By declaring your needs and asking whether a community is equipped to meet them, you can gradually narrow down the list of options.

Whatever retirement lifestyle you want to live, it’s waiting for you – you just have to search for it, and we’re here to help guide you. Reach out to us today to start your retirement journey or find a Hawthorn community near you.

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