Your First Visit to an Independent Living Community
Today is the day that you’re going to visit a retirement community for the first time! Whether you’re looking for yourself or someone else, you want to make the most out of the visit. While the sales counselor will help you understand the services offered, the fees, and the community’s availability, there are a few other things that you can do while you’re there to help you make your decision:
Eat the food.
I can’t stress this enough. If the food is bad, you’ll hate living there. Since most communities want to keep you there for as long as possible, they’ll usually offer you a free meal. Take them up on their offer. Not only will you get a free meal, but you’ll get a glimpse into daily life on their campus.
Pay attention to details.
Use the restroom near the leasing office. Is it neat and tidy? Are there stains on the floor? Look at the model apartment when you visit. It is clean and organized? Did they go to the trouble of having the carpet cleaned or replaced? While the little things might not seem like much, you can get a good idea of how the place is run by paying attention to the small stuff.
Ask to meet current residents.
Try to arrange a meeting with them outside of your normal tour visit. They’ll tell you a lot about the community, especially if you can talk to them when the marketing agent is not there.
Go back unannounced.
While your goal isn’t to ambush the community, you certainly want to see how things are run while there aren’t any tours. If the community has a nursing home, start there and work your way to independent living. Pay close attention to odors that might have been covered up while you were on your tour. Watch how the staff handles and unexpected visitor. If they get upset when you pop in for a quick visit, you probably don’t want to live there.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, go visit your new home!