65 Briarwood Circle Worcester, MA 01606

Questions to Consider When Touring Senior Living Communities

questions touring retirement community

This post was originally published on May 5, 2017 and has been updated for relevancy.

You ultimately made the decision to downsize. Undoubtedly, exciting times are ahead, so you are seeking out a vibrant place to live. You may already have a set of expectations that you’re keeping in mind for your new home.

Certainly, you value your autonomy, but you’re energetic and maybe considering the lifestyle of active senior living communities. These communities include amazing amenities that offer educational opportunities, activities, day trips, social gatherings, spiritual opportunities, spa services, physical fitness, and pleasing yet comfortable living quarters protected by security. Essentially, you want it all, and why not?

As you seek out your new home, there are several things to consider when evaluating various aspects of the community. Here are some questions to ask while touring active senior living communities:

Appearance and Physical Attributes

  • Could you consider this place home?
  • Is the facility easily navigable and accessible?
  • How convenient is parking?
  • Do the residences offer different floor plans and sizes to choose from?
  • What are the rooms like? (size, windows, atmosphere)
  • Do certain styles come with a garage?
  • Is a beautifully-appointed, communal dining room conveniently located on the premises?
  • Are there assorted common areas?
  • Are the grounds smartly groomed and well maintained (lawn, gardens, clear walking paths)?
  • Is the interior well kept and cleaned as well (clean carpets/polished floors, comfortable furniture, fresh and sanitary atmosphere?
  • Are there assorted common areas? If so, do they include activity rooms, lounges, and living rooms?
  • How did the environment you experienced on your tour make you feel? Was it welcoming and calm? Did it get you excited about your future?


  • Does the facility have a fitness center, barbershop, beauty salon, and spa (with manicure, pedicure, and massage services) directly on-site?
  • Are the rooms and bathrooms equipped with safety features and accommodations?
  • Are stoves and other appliances included in kitchen areas for the times home cooking is preferred?
  • Does the dining menu offer great variety and periodically change?
  • When are meals served and are how are they served (buffet style, restaurant-style, etc.)?
  • Are there restaurants or coffee shops on-site?
  • Do apartments have cable TV?
  • Does the community have wireless internet that runs properly?
  • Is there a computer room?
  • Is there a library?
  • Do they allow pets?
  • Are housekeeping services available to the residents?
  • Will maintenance staff be on hand 24-hours per day to handle unexpected household occurrences?
  • Are all outdoor chores (e.g., mowing, weeding, snow removal) included in the amenities? In other words, does the community enjoy maintenance-free living?
  • Is transportation available?
  • Is there an emergency response system?
  • How much is rent and are there any other fees to be aware of?
  • Is there an extra charge for certain amenities? If so, which ones and how much will they charge?

Activities and Social Opportunities

  • Does the facility strive to prioritize well-being and maximize positive aging, in part by implementing a full event calendar?
  • What kind of activities and clubs are involved in the community? Are there any that spark your interest?
  • Is there a designated room for hobbies/activities room?
  • If there is a gym within the facility, do they offer fitness programs or work out classes?
  • Does the environment foster positive interaction with contemporaries?
  • If the facility does include activity rooms, lounges, and living rooms, are there residents gathered socializing while you’re touring?
  • Do residents seem to be engaged in social events and taking advantage of community amenities?
  • Are there diverse educational opportunities, such as classical music topics, practical use of technology, historical learning, computer classes, art courses, vocational teaching, and multi-topic lectures, presented on the campus?
  • Are off-site excursions to concerts, plays, and day outings available for residents wishing to partake?
  • Are there certain visiting hours for families and friends?

Care Services and Treatment

  • How do the staff members treat each other and residents? On your tour, do you observe that residents seem happy and well-cared for?
  • Is cultivating whole-person wellness a staff priority?
  • Does the management team seem well-staffed, experienced, personable, and welcoming? What trainings/qualifications do they have?
  • What types of care and services do they offer (sub-acute, long-term, rehabilitation, etc.)?
  • Is there a care coordination plan in place to offer customized care plans that accommodate each individuals’ needs?
  • Do they help with medication management?
  • How does the community handle medical emergencies? Is the staff available 24/7?
  • How does this community collaborate and communicate with families and residents?
  • What are the expenses for care services and treatment?


  • Is the community located in an area with grocery stores, pharmacies, and other general shops nearby?
  • Is there easily accessible public transportation in the area?
  • Is the location of the facility relatively close to your loved ones?
  • Are there any unique attributes or attractions in the area that make the location more desirable (parks, beaches, shopping malls)?
  • Are there good restaurants in the area?
  • What type of entertainment is offered around the location (movie theaters, museums, concerts, etc.)

Final Considerations

Relocating to a new home occasionally produces a plethora of ambiguous feelings. There are plenty of aspects you may be looking for in the facilities you tour to evaluate whether or not the residence meets your expectations. Nonetheless, when the residence affords freedom from daily chores, independent living, and a wide range of educational, social, and creative prospects, uncertainty tends to wane and peace of mind, coupled with ongoing gratification, quickly takes hold. This is why it’s essential to ask all the right questions on your search to make sure you find a community that’s the right fit for you!

Briarwood, located in a charming country setting less than 10 minutes from Worcester, is a pet-friendly senior living community featuring the aforesaid services to our lively residents, resulting in a most enriched and active lifestyle. In fact, many individuals assert they wish they had made the move to our welcoming community a lot sooner than they did.

If you’re considering moving to a senior living community, Briarwood may be the place you’ve been looking for! Schedule a time with us for dinner to taste the food and meet the Briarwood staff, residents, and tour our beautiful campus!

come to dinner

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