Retirement Home Searching: Helpful Tips

Searching for the right retirement home or community for yourself or a loved one is a tedious process; there are so many things to consider! Use the following helpful tips when you are searching for, or taking tours of, different retirement home options in the tri-state area. These tips will help you evaluate the homes by asking the right questions.

Find Your Fit

When it comes to choosing the right place, where do you start? First, you should decide which type of retirement living community is the best fit for you based on your needs. For example, is assisted living right for you? Or would independent living be a better fit? It really comes down to what level of support you require. The American Seniors Housing Association is a wonderful resource with advice, ideas, and information regarding senior living. They have a great questionnaire to help you decide, based on your needs, which type of retirement housing would be best for you. You can find that questionnaire here.


It’s all about location, location, location; isn’t that what they say in real estate? It’s no different when shopping for a retirement home or community. Is it close enough to family and friends? Find out what shopping centers and medical facilities are nearby. Also, ask about the safety of the neighborhood and whether it has a history of crime.


When researching and touring different retirement home options, ask for an available activity calendar. Do they provide a new calendar each month with new activities? Is there a good mix of physical and social opportunities? Reviewing the home’s activity calendar will give you a sense of what will be available to you as a resident. Also, if you are new to the area, ask around and research what sort of opportunities are available to seniors in the community.


Ask the facility/home for a dining plan or menu. Or, better yet, ask if you can stay for a meal. After all, you’ll be a regular there, don’t be shy about wanting to sample the cuisine. If you require a special diet, ask your contact or tour guide if they will accommodate. Lastly, ask about kitchen and dining restrictions. For example, are residents able to invite guests for meals? Outside scheduled meal times, is the kitchen open for residents to cook or bake something themselves?


It’s very important to know the rules of the home you are touring. Some of these rules, whether they apply to you or not, could make or break your decision. Topics to bring up with your tour guide could include things like:
  1. After hours rules (noise, curfew, etc.)
  2. Pets
  3. Smoking
  4. Visitors
Ask your representative for a complete list of rules and restrictions, and review the list carefully with a family member.

One Last Tip

Of course, these are only a few of many tips to¬†help you evaluate the home you are touring. It really all comes down to asking the right questions. One last tip we will leave you with is this: Ask your main contact or tour guide if you can meet some of the residents. These people will be your neighbors, after all! Or, ask if you can attend one of the home’s organized activities. Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew somebody when you move in?