Five Questions to Ask During your Visit


Note: This post originally appeared at

On your visit to a new community, you’ll probably ask the salesperson about types of care offered, amenities and activities available to resident, and the cost of services.  Here are a few more questions that you might not have considered:

How many apartments are available? This question is very important in existing communities where a large number of empty apartments can signal management or financial problems. It normal for newer communities might have a larger number of vacant apartments, but pay attention to how fast they are filling up. Most communities should take less than 3-5 years to fill (although the number increases during recessions).

What is your pet policy? If you are an animal-lover, you’ll definitely want to know how the community handles pets.

When are payments due, and what are the procedures for making payments? It’s easy to rack up late fees and other penalties if you don’t understand the rules, so make sure that you know exactly how payments are handled.

If I need more care, how will the community handle making those arrangements, if at all? Some communities will help move you and your things to assisted living or nursing, should the need arise. Others will require your family members to coordinate. Knowing the policies and procedures ahead of time can save you a lot of trouble when it comes to finding higher levels of care.

What are my rights and responsibilities? States like Florida have a resident bill of rights.  Most states do not. Check with the community to see what resident rights are included in the contract, if any.  Communities that honor resident

Does the community background check and/or train its employees?  This one is pretty self-explanatory.  You want a community that does at least some training for all of its employees, especially ones that will be handling care.

What is the policy regarding staff giving potentially life-saving care? There was a recent case where a Brookdale employee basically watched a woman die because of corporate policy when it came to rendering aid.  While this is a relatively rare occurrence, you probably want to understand the policy, just in case.