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Questions to Ask When Researching a Senior Living Community

When considering a senior living community, finding the one that best fits your personal goals and needs can fill you with a new sense of hope and a plan for the next stage of your life. And because more than 56 million seniors are making their wants and needs clear, there are many great options out there today. The key lies in choosing the right community for you, which is why we’ve put together a list of questions we think you’ll find helpful that you can take with you when you start touring senior living communities.

Senior living communities are not one size fits all.

Reading marketing materials and attending events are all important pieces of the puzzle. But the most important piece is getting answers to your individual questions. Senior living communities are not one size fits all. By being proactive and asking about the topics that are most important to you, you increase the likelihood of finding the perfect fit.

We’ve put together a list of questions we think you’ll find helpful that you can take with you on your personal appointment:


Most independent living senior communities offer a selection of home options for you to choose from. You’ll want to know what your options are and what’s included.

  • What are my home options? (One-bedroom, two-bedroom, number of bathrooms)
  • Can I customize my home?
  • Are routine maintenance and repairs included?
  • Is exterior maintenance covered?
  • Who covers the cost of electric, gas, water, and trash pickup?
  • Is housekeeping included?
  • May I have pets?


Questions about affordability and pricing are at the top of everyone’s list when looking for retirement communities. Being clear on the price is important.

  • What are your plans and pricing structure?
  • How often do fees increase?
  • Is there an upfront fee? (sometimes called entrance or buy-in fee)
  • What does the price cover? What items are additional?
  • How will the price change if I move to a different level of care? (for example, from independent living to assisted living)

Owners and Operators

Asking about who owns and operates the community is an important indication of a community’s mission.

  • Is the community not-for-profit or for-profit?
  • Is there a board of trustees?
  • Are there shareholders?


Independent living residences have their own kitchens. Even so, many prefer the convenience and ambiance of restaurant-style dining onsite. Having the option means they can cook when they want and dine out when they don’t. Most senior living communities offer several dining venues that differ by type of cuisine, dress code, hours, and aesthetic. It’s important that these onsite venues align with your preferences and schedule. It will make the most of your dining experience.

  • How does the meal program work?
  • May I see a sample menu?
  • May friends and family join me for dinner?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you offer private dining for special events?
  • Can you request meal variations or substitutions?
  • What types of dining venues are available? (dining room, to-go, casual/bistro, private)


Social interactions and staying active play a crucial role in the quality of life for independent living residents. Housing options, dining, and community amenities are important, but don’t overlook a community’s social events, activities, classes, and outings.

  • What kind of events/activities/classes do you offer?
  • What does your life enrichment calendar look like? (Ask for a copy)
  • What clubs do you offer?
  • Do you plan trips outside of the community?
  • Do you have local partnerships that offer perks?
  • Do you have a pool, fitness studio, and wellness center?

Care Services

Choosing a community that offers multiple levels of care, means the convenience of aging in place with a community and care team you’re familiar with. It also means couples can often stay together on the same campus even when their needs are no longer the same.

  • What services or levels of care do you offer? (for example, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation)
  • Can you continue to live in your home and access these services?
  • Does the community have an ECC license?
  • Do you have staff available 24/7?

A Few More Important Questions

In addition to the very specific questions above, there are general questions that help you to determine if the community is right for you.

The truth is, asking the right questions will empower you to make the best decision. After all, senior living communities are as different as the towns and cities they’re part of. Once you decide on a preferred location, you can start looking in the area. Communities like The Manhattan, coming soon to St. Pete are sought after for their location and their lifestyle. To learn more about The Manhattan and all it will offer, contact us and make a personal appointment.