Know Before You Go: Questions to Ask When You Tour a Senior Living Community

know before you go

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



If you’ve decided to move to senior living, how do you choose the right community? Honestly, that can be just as overwhelming as whether or not to move at all, unless you’re prepared, of course! What should you be looking for? Should you tour virtually or in person? How do you compare communities? Here’s what to know before you tour a senior living community.

What to Consider When You Tour a Senior Living Community

Your first step is to take a step back. By that, we mean that before you even tour a senior living community, think about what you want and need. Knowing what’s most important beforehand- not only saves you the trouble of touring communities that aren’t a fit, but you’ll also avoid being overwhelmed by all the options available to you in those that are contenders. Consider these things:

  • Realistically assessing your current needs: Whether or not you need help with things like personal care, managing health conditions, housekeeping, home maintenance, and meals, and/or would like a more social, active lifestyle, for example.
  • The levels of care in senior living: Based on your needs, identifying whether active adult living, independent living, assisted living, or memory care would be the best fit will easily narrow your search.  
  • Non-negotiable and preferred senior living community features: Like being pet-friendly or having two-bedroom floor plans, and/or preferences such as concierge services and multiple dining venues, for example. 

How To Tour a Senior Living Community

To tour a senior living community today- you typically have two options: virtual or in person. With either, you’ll need to contact the community to schedule the day and time that’s convenient for you. We’ll also ask you some questions about your needs and what you’re looking for so we can tailor the tour experience. But which option is best? Here are the pros and cons of each.

In-Person Tours


  • You can get a true feel for the environment using all your senses
  • You may be able to participate in an activity or a meal depending on the time of your visit
  • You may have more spontaneous opportunities to engage with residents and families


  • It may require a significant amount of time (travel, plus the tour itself)
  • Transportation to the community may be a challenge for some
  • May limit out-of-town family who wants to be included 
  • Some families may be more hesitant to ask questions face to face

Virtual Tours


  • More convenient for those with mobility challenges and/or who are recovering after surgery or illness 
  • Additional peace of mind during cold and flu season and/or for those immunocompromised 
  • More flexible for out-of-town family members 
  • Saves time and potentially money if travel is necessary


  • The experience isn’t as immersive as an in-person tour
  • The community has more control over what you see and what you don’t

Questions to Ask 

You’ll want to identify two or three final contenders in which to tour. To more easily compare when you tour a senior living community, make sure you’re looking for the same things and asking the same questions at each. We suggest the following:  

Accommodations and Campus

  • What types of accommodations do they offer? What are the differences in cost for each?
  • Is the community’s occupancy high or low?
  • How’s the location?
  • Can residents personalize their space?
  • Is the community’s campus well maintained?
  • What do you think of the appearance, comfort, and cleanliness of the accommodations as well as the dining, common, and outdoor areas?

Lifestyle and Wellness

  • Does the menu have many nutritious and appealing offerings? Can you sample the food?
  • Does the community accommodate special dietary restrictions or requests?
  • What types of activities (exercise, wellness, enrichment, social, etc.) are offered?
  • How often do residents leave the community for outside activities?
  • How often are housekeeping and laundry services provided?
  • What do you think of the level of amenities available? Do they fit your needs and wants?
  • Can friends and family visit anytime? Are there common and private spaces to gather with them?
  • Is the community pet-friendly?

Staff and Care

  • How much daily assistance can residents expect?
  • What qualifications are required for the staff?
  • Are staff members offered additional and/or continuous training opportunities?
  • What is the staff-to-resident ratio during the day and at night?
  • How do staff members interact with residents and you? Do they seem friendly and compassionate?
  • Does the community accommodate special needs, such as diabetic care?


  • How does the community handle medical emergencies?
  • How is the community secured?
  • What safety features are available?
  • Is scheduled (and/or private) transportation offered?


  • What are the monthly costs for housing and care?
  • What services are included in those costs? What services are add-ons?
  • What are the community’s payment options?

For more information about touring senior living communities, download our Choosing a Senior Living Community Guide.

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