Questions to ask: Touring a senior living residence

Useful questions to ask when searching for retirement living options

Amica Senior Lifestyles , What to Ask on a Tour of a Senior Living Residence

Before you choose a senior living residence, it’s important to make an informed decision. Book tours of the places you’re considering to clearly understand the offerings. Ideally, tours will include a complimentary meal in the dining room to sample the menu and ask residents how they enjoy living there. Your goal with each tour is to come away with the following information:

  1. What are the benefits of the residence’s location?
  2. What suites are available during your preferred move-in time?
  3. What amenities, activities and services are offered, including transportation?
  4. What levels of care are offered? And will the residence accommodate evolving care needs?
  5. What policies are in place that may affect you (pets, visitors, etc.)?
  6. What is included in pricing? What amenities/services cost extra?

What to Look for During the Senior Living Tour

Make a note of the following immediately after your visit and before touring the next residence. Just like buying a house, it’s easy to get one location’s features confused with another’s.

  1. What was your first impression when you arrived? Was reception welcoming and friendly?
  2. How clean and bright was the building?
  3. Did your appointment start on time?
  4. Were you hurried through the tour? You should feel comfortable to stop and watch activities and ask as many questions as you need.
  5. Did you see residents actively moving around or socializing?
  6. Did your host greet residents by name?
  7. Did your host review the amenities, services and fees and leave you with a comprehensive information package to take home?

Questions to Ask During the Senior Living Tour

Questions About the Building

  1. When was the residence built? Most recent renovation?
  2. Do you have smoke detectors, CO detectors and sprinklers in every suite and throughout the building?
  3. Is there underground resident parking? Is guest parking available? Is there a fee?

Questions About the Amenities

  1. Can guests join me for meals or special occasion meals?
  2. Can I book a guest suite for family or friends visiting from out of town?
  3. Can my family and guests use the residence amenities or join bus trips with me? Does that include my younger grandchildren?
  4. Is there a private dining room where I can entertain my family?
  5. Is there anywhere I can cook a meal for my family?

Questions About the Care

  1. Will you ask me to move if my care needs increase?
  2. How does the medical assessment work?  
  3. What are the minimal staffing levels at night?
  4. Is there an internal call bell or medical alert?
  5. Can I receive help managing my medications?
  6. Do you offer medical lifts and two-person lifts? (a key consideration for people who have fallen in the past)
  7. Is there a nurse on site at all times?
  8. What medical services are on site or available?
  9. Do you have an in-house physician?
  10. Can I receive assistance with bathing?
  11. How does your staffing model work? How many managers are onsite?

Questions About the Suites

  1. Are utilities, phone, TV and Internet included?
  2. Are suites furnished or do I bring my own? Can I change paint colours or customize the suite before I move in?
  3. Does every suite have an emergency response system?
  4. Does the suite have a kitchenette or full kitchen? Can I use a toaster oven or hot plate?
  5. Is there a washer/dryer in the suite?
  6. Can I use my heating pad?

Question About the Dining

  1. Is it open or assigned seating in the dining room?
  2. When are meal times?
  3. How do you accommodate dietary restrictions?
  4. How many choices on a menu and how often do menus change? Are meals made from scratch on the premises? Can I ask for something that’s not listed?
  5. Are meals served plated or buffet style?
  6. Can I get meals served in my suite?
  7. Can I get a drink or snack during the day?
  8. What happens when I go away for vacation?

Questions About the Housekeeping

  1. How often does my suite get cleaned? Can I pay for extra housekeeping service if I wish?
  2. How do I handle my garbage?
  3. How does laundry work? Can I have someone do all my laundry? My linens?
  4. You can also print this checklist from the Ontario Retirement Communities Association to help you compare communities.
  5. How does laundry work? Can I have someone do all my laundry? My linens?

You can also print this checklist from the Ontario Retirement Communities Association to help you compare communities.

You'll be surrounded by great amenities, flexible dining, activities and personalized support at Amica residences. Book your personal visit today.