You’ve done your homework on your senior living options. You may even have narrowed down your list to a few communities that appeal to you. Now comes the essential step: actually seeing firsthand what life is like in each option. Touring independent living not only is great way to ask more questions and meet the staff, it also lets you experience what it really feels like to be a resident.
Make your visits count: What to look for when touring independent living
In advance of your visit, be sure to write down your questions and list the amenities and community areas you want to see. Here are some suggestions of what you might want to be sure to note.
1. A warm and inviting atmosphere. When touring independent living, pay attention to how a community makes you feel. Are you welcomed from the start with a smile and a feeling of coming home; of belonging? As you tour the premises, pay attention to the atmosphere…are residents smiling and engaging with one another? Are staff members interacting with residents and families in positive ways?
Every day may be different, but one thing should be the same: a comfortable, inviting ambiance that you can call home. Don’t be shy to ask residents as you walk through the common areas if they are happy in their home. Ask staff as well how they like their environment.
2. A well-maintained property. As you approach the community, note the landscaping and grounds. Do they look as though they are receiving regular attention. Ask about the maintenance schedule. Indoors, pay attention to how clean it seems, are chairs and tables arranged for easy flow, are they clean, is there clutter, and so on. You can generally tell if a cleaning staff makes regular passes through common areas.
3. A range of fitness and wellness opportunities. Be sure to tour the fitness center or area to see what types of machines and equipment is available. Ask if there is instruction available. Are the machines new, or how often are they updated? What types of classes are offered? How well attended are they? Find out how strong the community’s commitment is to physical health and wellness.
4. Exceptional dining. For sure, touring independent living should include having one or two meals in the community. Check out each dining venue and a few sample menus. Observe how the dining staff interact with residents. Ask about dietary restrictions. What is the Chef’s philosophy? Are there “available anytime” dishes on the menu? Are local ingredients ever included? Is the dining atmosphere vibrant and inviting? Ask if you can have a sample menu to review later.
At St. Mark Village, you can opt for an elegant, five-course meal experience in our lovely dining room, or drop by our Village Café & Bakery for a more casual breakfast or lunch. Think homemade soup. Fresh salads and sandwiches. Locally made ice cream. We also have a Back Door Bistro for those evenings when you’re in the mood for a mix of flavor and fun, such as wings and a glass of sangria.
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5. A full social calendar. Check out the calendar and ask how well-attended the activities are. Drop in a few classes and see how it feels. Is there a good variety of things to do? Can residents request new activities? What are the most popular? Check out where classes and events are held. What about lifelong learning? Is there enough variety? Looking at the calendar, can you see yourself joining in?
6. Ample outdoor space. Fresh air is very good for your mental and physical health. Spending time outdoors help lower risk of depression and aid in recovery from stress and grief. As you are touring independent living, be sure to check out any outdoor space in the community. Is there any outdoor dining? Are there spaces where you and your family could easily socialize? Do you have easy access to the outdoors when you want to simply sit outside?
7. Desired services and amenities. Of course you will want to tour all the amenities, so be sure to list them as you do so. Find out if use of all the amenities is included in the monthly fee. Ask for a list of services as well, and check if any of those come with an additional fee. Make sure to find out if all the services that matter most to you are easily available (housekeeping, transportation, etc.)
8. Floor plans that appeal to you. The community where you live is very important. Your residence matters as well. Check out all the floor plans. Tour a model residence or peek inside a resident’s apartment if possible.
At St. Mark Village, a wide variety of floor plans is available, with features such as a private screened porch/balcony from which you can enjoy views of the green garden courtyard, pool and shade trees. There’s even a smartly designed one-bedroom apartment that might be just right if you are single.
Touring independent living: See how carefree life can be!
A not-for-profit life care community in Pinellas County, St. Mark Village offers you wellness of the body, mind, and spirit, as well as seamless access to future care options. We would love to take you on a tour today!