10 Questions to Ask When Searching for an Independent Living Facility

10 Questions to Ask When Searching for an Independent Living Facility

Couple on couch looking through brochure

Knowing which questions to ask when searching for an independent living facility can prepare you or your senior loved one to make an informed decision and plan for a fulfilling next chapter of life. Inquiring about available living options, amenities included, and accessible healthcare services are just a few aspects to consider. Let’s review ten of the most important questions to ask when considering a move to senior living.


What kind of living options are available?

When touring an independent living community, begin with the availability of living options. Options may include studio, one-, two-, or three-bedroom apartment homes, cottages, or other accommodations. Consider which option best suits your needs and preferences, and inquire about floor plans, location, and style. Also important to consider is the size of the overall facility and the distance between community amenities (such as dining rooms or fitness centers) and your option of choice.


What safety measures are in place?

The safety and security features offered to residents of an independent living facility are a high priority for seniors considering a move. Some communities may have gated entries for added security, while others may include gated indoor or outdoor neighborhoods on their campus. In addition to these security measures, ask about other safety features such as 24-hour staffing, fire and emergency policies, daily safety checks, and available technology for ensuring resident safety in the facility.


Are healthcare services available to residents? If so, how is this structured?

Many seniors looking for an independent living community may not require healthcare services initially. But if care needs change unexpectedly, knowing that care services are available on-site is a comfort. Ask whether the facility has a team on-site who can support activities of daily living (ADLs), such as personal care, getting dressed, showering, or medication management needs. If this type of assistance is available, ask how these support services are structured, who provides them, and if there are additional costs.


What amenities are included or available?

Amenities are the luxury features that make the independent living lifestyle attractive to seniors. They can vary greatly by community, so inquire as to which services and amenities are a part of the monthly rental and which may be an additional fee. Amenities traditionally include dining options, housekeeping and maintenance services, wellness and fitness programs, salon or spa services, social events, and entertainment. Most communities also have a variety of specially designed resident spaces. These can range from cafes, libraries, theaters, and studios to billiards rooms and business offices.


What does the monthly fee include?

Understanding the monthly rental fee is an essential first step when planning for independent living. Ask about what is included in the monthly fee and what is not included, and consider any additional services or amenities that may be needed or of interest. Some facilities may have additional fees for amenities such as parking, pets, transportation, or specialty services. 


How can residents enjoy the community’s outdoor space and grounds?   

If enjoying time outdoors is important to you or your senior loved one, asking about the community’s grounds, gardens, and outdoor space is worthwhile. Consider the property’s unique features, such as walking paths or trails, putting greens, patios, pools, outdoor dining, or opportunities for outdoor recreation.


Are multiple levels of healthcare accessible if needed?

Asking about the healthcare levels available to residents is also a necessary question, as a campus of senior living options with a continuum of care can be an ideal option for those planning for future healthcare needs. Independent living facilities with on-site options like assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing care, can ensure residents remain at home for as long as possible when care needs evolve.


What kinds of dining options are included or available?

The dining experience is often a highlight of each day for many residents. Be sure to inquire about dining options that are included or available in the community. An independent living facility may have multiple dining venues, ranging from restaurants and cafes to pubs and bistros, to casual dining rooms and convenient grab-and-go stations. Questions about the community’s dining team, signature culinary offerings, menus, and specialty options are always welcomed.  


What activities, programs, and events are offered?

Deciding how to spend your time is one of the many benefits of life in an independent living community. Inquire about the community’s social calendar, regular offerings, and look for scheduled events, activities, and programs that speak to your interests or those of your loved one. Outings, groups, clubs, and other gatherings provide a sense of community and vital social connections for growing friendships.


How would you describe the community culture?

Each independent living facility is unique and will have its own community culture, which may or may not be easy to identify with just one visit. When touring the facility, don’t hesitate to ask residents or staff members about their experience living and working in the community. Ask about the longevity of the staff and residents. Ask what residents love most about living there or why they choose the community. Knowing if a community is a good fit for you or your loved one begins with an honest conversation with residents and staff.


Having these ten questions and answers as a resource before visiting any independent living facility will provide perspective when comparing different communities. Ultimately, the most important question to ask yourself is, “Can I see myself living here?”


If the answer is yes, speak with an Edgemere senior living expert to learn more. 


Edgemere’s award-winning senior living options include independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care. Their relationship-centered environment fosters well-being, social connections, health, and independence, and earned them distinguished titles in Newsweek’s 2024 America’s Best Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Rely on Edgemere’s trusted name in senior living.