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Senior Walking June 14, 2024

Tips for Touring Senior Retirement Communities

By: Country Meadows | Retirement Community

Talking to loved ones about moving to a retirement community can be a sensitive topic. When the time comes to choose among senior retirement communities, it’s crucial to gather detailed information to make an informed choice while navigating the maze of senior retirement communities. There are numerous options, making it a significant decision that impacts the quality of life for your loved one. There are many things to consider to find the right care.

What to look for when touring senior retirement communities

Cleanliness and maintenance

  • First impressions. Notice the overall cleanliness and how well the building is maintained. Look past the furnishings and into corners, baseboards and windows. Clean common areas, well-kept landscaping and grounds and a fresh smell are good indicators.
  • Resident apartments. Check if resident rooms are tidy and well-maintained. Ask about the frequency of housekeeping services and if those services are included in monthly cost.
  • Outdoor areas. While visiting senior retirement communities be sure to also view outdoor areas available to residents. Ask how outdoor areas are used, such as for activities and enjoying the outdoors. Do the outdoor areas feel safe and secure?

Care services and costs

  • Service levels. When touring senior retirement communities, ask what levels of care are offered (independent living, assisted living, memory care, etc.) at each location?
  • Introductory costs. Are there any entrance fees, deposits or community fees?
  • What is included in the monthly fee? What services are available for an additional fee? These might include specialty meals, pet services, transportation, etc.
  • Increases. What is the policy on rent/fee increases?

Healthcare services (Not applicable in Independent Living settings)

  • Medical assistance. Ask if there are nurses on-site at all hours and how staffing patterns change overnight. Inquire about on-call physicians and protocols for handling medical emergencies.
  • Medication management. Verify how medication administration is handled and procedures for regular health assessments. Ask if there is a preferred pharmacy and receive instructions on how to use this provider.
  • Therapy. Is there in-house access to physical, occupational and/or speech therapy? Will my loved one need to leave the building to obtain these services?
  • Added healthcare services. Ask what services are included in the monthly fee, and if add-on services are available for your loved one should they require additional care. Ask about costs for add-one services at senior retirement communities.
  • Care plans. How are care plans developed and updated? How often are plans reviewed? Will staff reach out to family members as these plans change?


  • Attitude and friendliness. Observe how co-workers interact with residents, visitors and each other. Are they friendly, respectful and attentive? Do they listen and make eye contact?
  • Staff-to-resident ratio. If touring assisted living, personal care or memory support accommodations, ask how many co-workers are actually involved in residents’ care. Also ask about the staff-to-resident ratio. A lower ratio often means more personalized attention for each resident. For example, Country Meadows Retirement Communities strives to staff above both Pennsylvania’s and Maryland’s required staffing ratio.
  • Management. Make sure you are introduced to the management team as this will help you understand the mission and goals of each senior retirement community location.

Safety and security

  • Safety features. Be sure to note safety features, such as accessible bathrooms with grab bars in convenient locations, ample walkways and door locks.
  • Emergency call systems. Ensure there are emergency call bells in the resident’s living and bathroom areas. Ask about the average length of time it takes co-workers to respond to an emergency call.
  • Building security. Ask how visitors may enter the buildings, and if doors are locked to entry at certain times? Are key fobs or cards required to gain access to living areas? Is video surveillance present at entry points and in hallways?
  • Employees. Are staff required to pass background checks prior to hire?
  • Safety measures. Regulations require senior retirement communities to host regular safety drills for residents and co-workers. Ensure there are procedures in place for crises such as fire or medical emergencies.

Amenities and activities

  • Available activities. Ask for a copy of the activities schedule when visiting senior retirement communities. Review the activity calendar to see if it includes a variety of events that match your loved one’s interests and note the frequency of offered activities. At Country Meadows senior retirement communities, residents enjoy the “vibe” dynamic living program that offers opportunities for fun, socialization, learning, outings and much more.
  • Recreational areas. Check the availability of common spaces and amenities like fitness centers, libraries, outdoor spaces, gardens, chapels and other common areas for residents to gather and enjoy life.
  • Dining options. If possible, sample a meal and review the menu. Are meals nutritious and appealing? Are there additional choices available at each meal in addition to the item(s) listed on the menu? Is the dining area clean, and does it provide a pleasant dining experience? How are dietary needs and restrictions managed?

Resident satisfaction

  • Resident interactions. Talk to current residents at senior living communities about their experiences. Are they happy and well-cared for?
  • Family feedback. Seek opinions from visiting family members and friends to gauge their satisfaction with the community.

Touring senior retirement communities is a critical step in finding the right place to call home for your loved one. The goal is to find a community where your loved one will be well cared for while feeling comfortable, safe and engaged.

Country Meadows offers tours seven days a week. Our calls and email responses are completed by actual co-workers, not a third-party company or robots. Please contact us today to ask questions or even schedule a tour. We welcome the opportunity to meet you. We’re here to help!


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