Checklist for Visiting a Senior Care Home

Senior Care Home residentKnowing exactly what to look for when you visit a senior care home can help you make a sound decision and choose the right home for your needs.

Planning at least two visits is a smart way to learn more about a particular a senior care home that you’re interested in. If possible, schedule your first visit to coincide with a meal. Try the food if you can, and bring a list of questions to ask the staff member who gives you the tour.

On your second visit, consider dropping by unannounced. By doing so, it’s likely you’ll get a more authentic experience of what daily life is like there, and you can also use the opportunity to ask residents how they like living at the senior care home.

What to Look for in a Senior Care Home

  • Location. Is the home in a convenient location? Can your loved ones visit easily? Would you be able to continue to visit your doctor, go shopping and run errands?
  • Environment. Is the temperature and noise level comfortable? What about furniture in common areas? Do you notice any odors? Are common areas easily accessible?
  • Aesthetics. Is the home visually appealing to you? Look at both common areas and residences.
  • Amenities. Does the senior care home offer fitness facilities, a beauty shop, Internet access, a garden patio or other amenities? Are these on-site or nearby?
  • Safety & Security. Is the neighborhood safe? Does the home employ 24-hour security staff or take other safety precautions? Ask whether there is a written plan for natural disasters such as fires and earthquakes.
  • Residences. Are the rooms or apartments shared or private? Would you be required to share a bathroom? Do residences have grab bars near the bed and in the bathroom?
  • Residents. What are the residents of the senior care home like? Pay attention to their acuity and mobility levels; are they in line with your abilities?
  • Staff & Management. Notice how staff members and management interact with each other, and with residents, on your visit. Do they appear supportive, caring and helpful? Or do they seem stressed out and rushed?
  • Meals. Are the menu choices appealing? Can the home accommodate special dietary requirements?
  • Activities. Are the people participating in scheduled activities enjoying themselves? Are you interested in the activities that the senior care home offers?
If you are visiting multiple homes, take notes immediately following a visit to help keep things straight. Use this checklist as a guide, but also think about the things that are most important to you in your day-to-day life.

For example: if you drive, is parking available? If mobility is an issue (or you anticipate that it may become an issue), does the home offer single-level living? Is it equipped to care for residents who use mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs? If you are a passionate gardener or cook, will you be able to continue those activities once you move to the senior care home?

Written by senior housing writer Nikki Jong.