What to Look for When You Tour an Assisted Living Community

What to Look for When You Tour an Assisted Living Community

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. 



There are many factors to consider when determining which senior living community is the best fit for a loved one. That means the process can take a little more time than many seniors and their families anticipate.

While a virtual tour via a community’s website is tempting, an in-person visit is a critical piece of the decision-making process.  So, we put together this checklist to help you know what to look for and what to ask when you tour an assisted living community on a senior loved one’s behalf.

Assisted Living Personal Visit Checklist

Buildings and Grounds

Pay attention to the buildings and grounds from the minute you pull in to the community’s parking lot. Specifically look for:

  • How well is the exterior maintained? Is it clean and well cared for? Are the grounds in good shape?
  • Is visitor parking readily available? Is the parking area lighted and secure? This can be especially important if an older spouse will be visiting often.
  • Are exterior doors secure and in good repair?
  • Are common areas clean and odor-free?
  • Are resident apartments and suites well maintained? Is there adequate space for their belongings?

Safety and Security

A safe, secure environment is also vital. Here are a few tips on what safety features and programs you should look for:

  • Does the neighborhood surrounding the community appear to be safe and well-maintained?
  • Are exterior doors kept locked at all times or during certain hours?
  • Is there a receptionist or other staff member stationed in the lobby to greet families and to prevent uninvited persons from reaching resident areas?
  • What type of emergency call system is used? How does a resident use it to call for help?
  • Is there a fire suppression system in place throughout the community?
  • Are fire extinguishers placed in easy to access locations?
  • What emergency plan does the community have in case of fire, loss of power, flood, or other disaster?
  • Are safety features in place in resident apartments and in common areas? Pay close attention to notice handrails in hallways, and grab bars at the bedside and in bathrooms.

Resident Care

While a beautifully appointed lobby can make the community appear more inviting, it’s the quality of care that matters most. Here are a few tips to help you determine how well residents are cared for when you are touring an assisted living community:

  • Does each resident look tidy and well-cared for? Pay attention to their hair, face, and hands.
  • Are residents dressed in apparel that is clean, as well as appropriate for the time of day and the season of the year?
  • Do you notice staff interacting with residents in positive ways? Do they call each resident by name?
  • Are life-enrichment activities taking place during your visit? Ask for a copy of the resident activity calendar and check to see what is scheduled for the day.
  • Do staff members look you in the eye and say hello when you pass them on your tour?

Questions to Ask When You Tour an Assisted Living Community

It is also important to ask questions that help you gain more insight in to the community and determine its true commitment to senior care:

  • What is the average length of service for staff members? A high turnover in caregivers can negatively impact the continuity of care each resident receives.
  • How many residents is each caregiver responsible for? Does that number increase at night and on weekends? This ratio is often a determining factor in the quality of care at an assisted living community.
  • How are caregivers screened prior to hiring?
  • What type of training does each caregiver go through at the time of hire and throughout their employment?
  • What does the monthly fee include and what additional expenses should you expect to be billed for each month?
  • When your loved one needs more care, will they be required to move or can additional services be brought to them?
  • What conditions would require a resident to move to a different type of senior living community?

Download a Copy of The Complete Guide to Choosing Between Senior Living

Because we understand how overwhelming it can be to plan for a transition to a senior living community, we created a step-by-step guide to help. The Complete Guide to Choosing Between Senior Living Options covers topics ranging from financial planning to discussing a move with your senior loved one. Download your free copy today!

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