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What to Expect During Your First Visit to an Assisted Living Community

What to Expect During Your First Visit to an Assisted Living Community

If you’ve ever moved to a new house, you know that the process can be both challenging and exciting. You probably checked out several different houses, looking for specific layouts and amenities that best suit your needs. Touring new neighborhoods, talking to potential neighbors, or finding the closest grocery store were all pieces of the puzzle that helped you make your final decision. 

Choosing the right assisted living community is no different. You want to ensure your new home has everything you need, that it’s in a great location, and that you like the people around you. It’s ok to start your search by googling something like “assisted living in Arizona” and doing online research, browsing through reviews and pictures, and even talking to staff on the phone. Those are all great first steps when you’re trying to narrow down your options. 

It’s imperative to schedule an in-person visit before making a final decision. You can tell a lot about the quality of the assisted living community by how eager they are to have you visit. For instance, the Mission at Agua Fria Senior Living strongly encourages families to schedule a tour and explore nearby Peoria to see first-hand what their residents enjoy daily.

What should you expect during your first visit to an assisted living community? Are there specific questions you should ask or things to look for? This article provides some information about what that first visit will entail, good questions to ask, and tips on assessing each community and the quality of life they offer. 

Before Your Visit Starts

Whether you prefer an assisted living apartment in a downtown urban setting, with easy access to recreational activities, dining, and shopping, or a quieter neighborhood in the suburbs, pay attention as you drive in for your tour. Does the neighborhood feel safe? Are people out walking around? 

Once you get to the community itself, take some time to check out the exterior. The grounds should be neat and well-kept, and there should be ample, well-lit parking for both visitors and residents, including easily accessible handicapped parking. The building itself should be clean and well-maintained.

What Happens During a Tour

When you arrive, staff will greet you and give you a quick overview of the community, including available amenities and services and its philosophy of care. They should also provide you with brochures or other written information to review.

From there, a staff member will take you on a guided tour of the community. You should expect to see common areas like dining rooms, media rooms, exercise centers, outdoor areas, and a model apartment. Ask about the available amenities and whether you can see those as well. For instance, some communities have onsite hair salons, game rooms, libraries, and wellness and therapy centers.

As you tour the community, try to get a sense of the cleanliness and overall atmosphere. Is it peaceful and quiet? Does staff seem friendly as they interact with residents? Do they make eye contact with you and smile? Are residents active and engaged? Are the common areas comfortable and inviting?

If the assisted living community offers varying levels of care, such as independent living, assisted living, memory care, or respite care, ask to see living spaces for each and what the process would be if you want to move within the community if your needs change.

After the Tour

It’s likely that after the tour is finished, you will have the opportunity to sit with a staff member for a question-and-answer session. Now is an excellent time to ensure you understand the pricing structure. What does the monthly fee cover? Is it just room and board? Do other services and activities cost a fee? Is transportation included?

You should also ask about any financial assistance solutions the assisted living community can help you with. For instance, Medicare, veteran’s benefits, long-term care insurance, or payment plans might all be options the staff is familiar with and can help you explore. They might even have staff available to work with you on the paperwork.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Visit

Choosing the right assisted living community is an important decision. The AARP has compiled a helpful checklist of questions to help you make the most informed decision possible. Think about the things that are most important to you. If you have a pet, is the community pet-friendly? If you love to cook, does the apartment have a kitchenette? How many meals are provided on a daily basis if you don’t want to cook? What types of scheduled outings and activities are available? Keep a list of all of these questions readily available throughout your visit.

When assessing the quality of life offered by the assisted living community, you should do more than just ask good questions, though. The following are some additional tips to consider to get the most out of your visit:

  • Visit more than once and at different times of the day. A good rule of thumb is to visit once during the day, at night, and on the weekend. Do residents seem happy and safe? Is the community active and full of life?
  • Ask if you can participate in an activity or mealtime. Joining in for a group art class or sharing a meal with residents allows you to interact and get a sense of the overall atmosphere.
  • Take notes. You might feel overwhelmed with information, especially when touring several assisted living communities. To ensure that all the information doesn’t blur together, label your notes clearly with the name and location of each community.
  • Take pictures with your phone. Having visual reminders will help you as you compare different communities.
  • Explore the neighboring area. Take a drive around the neighborhood or the closest town. Are there parks and shopping areas? Dining options? Will you have easy access to a medical center? Recreational activities?

If you’re looking for assisted living in Arizona, we think there’s no better place to start than the Mission at Agua Fria. Our innovative and holistic approach to care sets our vibrant community apart. Contact us today to schedule a tour. We would love to meet you!

(623) 266-0999 Contact Us