No matter how good something looks on paper or how well someone describes it when faced with a big decision, you just have to see for yourself. Choosing a senior living community is a prime example of this, which is why a tour is essential. To really know what life is like in a senior living community, you need to experience it firsthand. Until recently, most tours were done in person, which wasn’t always convenient or feasible for some families. However, now when touring senior living communities, you also typically have virtual options. Which is best? Here are the pros and cons of each.
Touring Senior Living Communities In-Person
Ideally, you’ll want to tour two to three senior living communities before making your final decision. To tour in person, you’ll need to contact the community to schedule the day and time that’s convenient for you. They’ll ask you some questions about your needs and what you’re looking for so they can tailor the tour experience. Tours typically take approximately one to one and a half hours.
You can expect to tour the grounds along with a residence for the level of care in which you are interested such as independent living, assisted living, or memory care. For the latter two, you’ll also learn more about the daily care you or your loved one will receive. You’ll also be able to meet team members as well as residents and learn some details on the social, enrichment, and fitness opportunities available along with the amenities.
During the visit, they’ll ask about your needs and wants and answer any questions you may have.
Pros of In-Person Tours
- You can get a true feel for the environment using all your senses
- You may have the option to participate in an activity or a meal depending on the time of your visit
- There may be spontaneous opportunities to engage with residents and families
Cons of In-Person Tours
- Takes 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 want to be included in the tour
- Some families may be more hesitant to ask questions face-to-face
Touring Senior Living Communities Virtually
A virtual tour is scheduled in much the same way as you would for an in-person one – by contacting the community directly or scheduling through the community’s website. You can expect much the same experience as well in terms of getting an inside look at a residence and learning about the care and amenities offered, plus all the opportunities to enjoy life to its fullest.
Connecting online for the tour is usually pretty easy. You’ve probably already been on a few virtual calls with your family during the pandemic, and this is very similar! And you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions, too.
Pros of Virtual Tours
- More convenient if you or your loved one has mobility challenges or is recovering after surgery or illness
- Additional peace of mind during cold and flu season, and/or if you or your loved one is immunocompromised
- More flexible for out-of-town family members
- Saves time and potentially money as well if travel is necessary
Cons of Virtual Tours
- Not as much of an immersive experience as an in-person tour
- The community has more control over what you see and what you don’t