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Tips for Touring & Choosing a Retirement Community

Choosing a retirement community can seem overwhelming at first — you have so many cities and facilities available to you. We understand the importance of making the right decision when choosing a retirement community, which is why we’ve put together a few tips on how to find out what kind of community is the best fit for you. As you plan to visit retirement communities and decide on the right one, keep these things in mind:

Trust Your Senses

When you’re touring a retirement community, pay attention to what you see, hear, smell, and taste. Are there plenty of activities available? Does the staff look and sound friendly? Is the community clean? Is the food good? If something makes you feel uneasy, make a note to ask someone about it. Picture yourself living in the community — and if it doesn’t feel right, that might be a sign that it’s not the best fit for you. Trust yourself and your instincts.

Talk to the Residents

Going on a tour is a great opportunity to experience what life is like at a retirement community. Take advantage of this time to talk to the residents who already live there. Do they like it there? Is there anything they wish they could change? By getting firsthand accounts of a community’s pros and cons, you can get a better idea of how well you’d like living there.

Ask Questions

It’s important to go into your tour with some questions in mind. This will make you better prepared to choose a retirement community when the time comes. Thinking of questions beforehand will allow you to engage with the staff without feeling overwhelmed by all the new information.

To get you started on some questions, we’ve listed a few common ones below. When you do schedule a retirement community tour, you can use this list as a guide for understanding and comparing potential retirement communities. We hope these questions empower you to find the best place to retire.


  • Who owns and manages the retirement community?
  • Is the owner/manager not-for-profit or for-profit?
  • Is the community accredited for meeting high standards in resident services, operations, and financial stability?
  • How long has the managing organization been in business?
  • What are the credit ratings?

Health & Wellness

  • Are healthcare services provided on campus?
  • If healthcare is provided, what levels of care are available?
  • How much will it cost if a higher level of care is needed for me or my spouse?
  • What is your facility’s track record with state inspections of the assisted living and nursing care levels?

Financial Questions

  • What are the details of fees and what do they include?
  • What is not included?
  • When do monthly fees increase and under what conditions?
  • What has been the average fee-increase percentage over the past five/ten years?

Social & Activities

  • What kind of social, cultural and educational activities are available?
  • Who organizes these activities?
  • Is transportation provided to local attractions, medical offices, grocery stores, etc.?
  • What resident clubs and committees are available?

Procedural Questions

  • Is there a waiting list?
  • How long is the typical wait?
  • What is the procedure for adding my name to the waiting list?
  • Is there a cost?
  • What happens to my waiting list status if I’m offered an apartment and I decline?

During Your Retirement Community Tour

It’s important to trust your instincts, talk to residents, and ask good questions when you tour a facility. You’ll get to learn more about insider experiences, sample the food and service, and see how well the community is maintained. Ultimately, the key to a successful tour is going in prepared. If you know what you want to get out of the experience, you’ll avoid being overwhelmed and uncomfortable.

Do you have more questions about choosing a retirement community that fits your needs? We have some great resources to help you prepare for retirement. Check out this infographic about touring a retirement community or this article about the benefits of living in a retirement community. You can also schedule a tour at any of our many communities — one of them might just be the perfect fit for you!

Read Our Retirement Community Resources Below

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Retirement Resources

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