How to Evaluate Potential Communities


The best way to figure out if a senior living community is right for your loved one is to schedule a tour, talk with the people who live and work there, and then trust your instincts. Learn more from Senior LIving Advisors Sue Johansen, Vicky Burns and Mary Lontkowski in this video from the “Ask an Advisor” series. Or read the transcript below.

Ask An Advisor Series: How To Evaluate Potential Communities

Sue: Hello and welcome to A Place for Mom’s “Ask an Advisor” series. Today we’re going to answer the question “how do you evaluate a potential community?” Vicky, you talk to families every day. What do you tell them?

Vicky: The best way to evaluate a community is to go visit. And I always suggest to my families that they schedule that tour time. That way they are talking to a person who knows about vacancies and specials and really they get a lot of information about the community.

Sue: Well what about those families who really want to pop in and just see what they see when they get there?

Vicky: I get that. I do. I get that. And you should do that. But as your second visit. Always schedule your first visit so you can get all the information you need. Then feel free to pop in at any time.

Sue: So when should you schedule a tour?

Mary: Well I always suggest that you do it as early as possible. You want to learn about these options and really the best way to learn about them is to go in firsthand, visit a community, learn what it has to offer. That way when your loved one asks questions or expresses some concerns, you can really speak knowledgeably to those questions and concerns. You can only get so much information from a brochure. You really need to go in and see it firsthand.

Sue: Once you schedule the tour then what are you looking for?

Mary: When you really want to check and look and see are the seniors engaged? Are they happy? Are the staff interacting with the seniors and do they look happy? And I always suggest that you want to go in during a mealtime. First and foremost you’ll get to try the food, which is going to be really important of course, but more importantly you’ll get a chance to sit at a table and talk with some of the seniors that are living there and really learn what their experience has been about.

Vicky: The main thing is go visit. Go tour the communities. And you know your advisor with A Place for Mom can actually schedule those tours for you. Surprisingly not enough families utilize that, but that’s our job. We want to do that for you to make sure that you get in and get a lot of great information.

Sue: Any last words of wisdom about touring communities?

Vicky: You know really just trust your feelings. You know Mom or Dad or your loved one better than anyone else. And if you feel comfortable at the community and you feel like they’ll feel comfortable, that’s where they’ll be happy.

Sue: Great. OK so we know the most important thing to do is to schedule that tour. And we know that going at mealtime allows us to not only test the food but to speak to the residents and see how they interact with the staff as well. And that will really give us a sense of whether this is going to be a good fit or not. To find out more about senior communities please log on to our website or call A Place for Mom and speak to a local advisor. Thank you.

Evaluating Potential Communities

  • Schedule a visit
  • Go during a meal
  • Talk to the residents
  • Watch the staff in action
  • Trust your gut

Update: January 2018