How to tour senior living in today's new normal
Pandemic or not, we know families still have a need for the benefits of senior living. And while we’re encouraged that FDA-approved vaccines are now available, our industry is still as committed as ever to following local, state and federal guidelines for COVID-19 to protect residents and team members. Yet we’re also committed to ensuring those considering senior living right now can make their decision with confidence. One of the best ways to do that is with a tour and we’ve created a way to do that from the comfort of your own home. See how to tour senior living right now and why families are loving this option.
The benefits of an inside look from home
That’s right, we’re talking about virtual tours! We’ve actually found many families like this approach even better than in-person tours because:
- IT’S MORE CONVENIENT – Does your loved one have mobility challenges? Has their strength not quite returned after a recent surgery or illness? Are they hesitant about the idea of senior living? For any number of reasons, a virtual tour can be a low-pressure, more easily-accessible way to get a firsthand look at life in senior living.
- IT’S MORE FLEXIBLE – Often families think of things they wish they could see again or forgot to ask about after they get home from their in-person tour which can leave you uncertain if the community is the best fit or not. Virtual tours make it easy to go back again and revisit what you need to in order to make a confident decision.
- IT’S SAFER – Once bright-side of COVID-19 is that it’s prompted us to be even more creative in our approach to just about everything. Virtual tours began as a safety precaution for us and you, but now it’s hard to imagine going back to in-person tours exclusively. Beyond COVID-19, virtual tours are ideal during cold and flu season and/or for immunocompromised seniors or family members to tour with peace of mind.
- LONG-DISTANCE FAMILY MEMBERS CAN PARTICIPATE – Out of town family members are often at a disadvantage in touring senior living communities for their loved ones. They can either make the trip or hear about each community second-hand. A virtual tour gives them the opportunity to weigh in just like the rest of the family – and it saves time and money!
How to tour senior living virtually
With a virtual tour, you’ll schedule in much the same way as you would for an in-person one by contacting the community directly or scheduling through the community’s website. Then we’ll ask a few questions to get to know you better and gain an understanding of your needs in order to personalize the tour experience. Also, when setting a time for your virtual tour we’ll provide clear instructions on how to connect with us – it’s easy!
During the tour, you can expect to meet staff and perhaps residents who will share what life is like in the community. You’ll see the campus grounds as well as living options and some of our most popular amenities. We’ll also share with you all the social, fitness and enrichment opportunities that are available to enjoy. Depending on the level of care in which you’re interested, we’ll also detail the services provided there. And, we’ll answer any questions you may have!
Comparing senior living communities
Ideally, you’ll compare two to three communities. Start with their websites to see what they offer – many have videos and interactive floor plans to give you a more in-depth insight into the community. Also, check online review sites and each community’s social media sites to get a sense of their personality and daily life for residents.
In researching online and when touring, make sure to compare the communities across the same criteria to simplify the process and to keep you focused. Comparison points include:
- Type of accommodations and cost differences.
- Level of daily assistance provided, if needed.
- Monthly costs for accommodations and care, as well as what’s included in those costs.
- The appearance, cleanliness and comfort of accommodations, dining, common and outdoor areas.
- Menu variety as well as whether or not there is a dedicated chef.
- Whether the community accommodates special dietary restrictions or requests.
- What programs (fitness, enrichment, social, other activities) are offered.
- How often housekeeping and laundry services are provided.
- Amenities offered in the community.
- Tenure, experience/expertise of staff and whether (or not) they participate in ongoing training.
- Staff-to-resident ratio both day and night.
- Protocols in place to protect residents/staff from COVID-19 and how they are communicated.
- How the community handles medical emergencies.
- Safety and security features that are offered.
Don’t forget to make sure you also check with friends, family and trusted advisors such as your doctor to see if they have any insight on the communities you’re considering.