Top Things to Look for When Touring an Independent Living Community

May 21, 2024

As with so many things in life, it can look good on paper, but what’s it like in person? 

When it comes to scoping out options for independent living, there is simply no equal alternative to visiting a senior living community in person. You’ve probably looked through websites, brochures, pictures and videos of the community, but to get an authentic taste of what life is really like there, touring an independent living community is an absolute must. 

That said, what should you be looking for during your tour of the community? We’ve put together some specific observations to make as you’re becoming acquainted with the senior living community in question. 

Top things to look for when touring an independent living community 

What is your first impression? 

You’ve heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but in this case, it’s a good idea to take a mental note of your initial reaction to the senior living community you’re visiting. Here are some thoughts to consider upon your arrival: 

  • How does the general appearance of the community strike you? Is the landscaping well maintained or in need of attention? What condition are the drives and parking areas in? 
  • How was your initial greeting from the staff? Did your contact provide you with accurate information on where to go when you arrived? Did they greet you quickly upon arrival? Did they seem ready and prepared for your visit? 
  • Was anything specially prepared for your visit? Did the community go the extra mile to welcome you? Was there a reserved parking spot for you or a welcome sign with your name on it? Did the staff ask you what you’re looking forward to most? 

Download our free Guide to Independent Living .

What is the “vibe” you feel throughout the community? 

While you’re touring the community, pay close attention to the little details that others might gloss over. Be a keen observer and keep an eye out for some of these: 

  • What are the interactions like between the staff and residents? As guests, your tour guide should be focusing on you primarily, but do they also interact in passing with other staff members and residents? Do they know each other by name? What is their tone of voice and body language? 
  • What are the interactions like between residents? Do they seem to be engaged with each other in conversation and activities in the common areas? Are mealtimes filled with talk and laughter, or are they quiet? 
  • Is the community as a whole engaging you in a positive way? Similar to gauging your first impression, what is your energy and enthusiasm like as you make your way through the community? Are you excited to see what’s next? Do you wish you could get to know the staff and residents better? 
  • What is your conversation with your tour guide like? Does your guide engage in conversation with you easily? Do they ask you if you have any questions they can answer? Do they pay close attention to what you’re interested in and incorporate your areas of interest into the tour? 

What did you think and feel afterward? 

After your visit is done, take some time to reflect on how you think it went. Make some comparisons and consider your answers to questions like these: 

  • Do you feel satisfied with your visit? Within reason, were you able to do and see everything you wanted to? Was it worth the travel and time spent? Did it meet or exceed your expectations? 
  • What were your main takeaways from the visit? Did you learn anything of value during your visit? Was there anything that pleasantly surprised you? Would you recommend someone you know to visit too? 
  • Do you feel eager to return? What is your gut feeling about this community? Do you feel an inner longing to learn more? Could you picture yourself spending more time there? 

More about independent living 

Learn more about independent living: take a look at “Just the Facts: Your Guide to Independent Living”, our free downloadable resource. Contact us to schedule a tour and see Abe’s Garden for yourself! 

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