Touring a Senior Living Community

Before you choose a senior living community, it’s important to make an informed decision. Book tours of the residences you’re considering to clearly understand the offerings. Ideally, tours will include a complimentary meal in the dining room to sample the menu and ask residents how they enjoy living there. Your goal with each tour is to come away with the following information:

  • What are the benefits of the residence’s location?
  • What suites are available during your preferred move-in time?
  • What amenities, activities and services are offered, including transportation?
  • What policies are in place that may affect you (pets, visitors, etc.)?
  • What is included in pricing? What amenities/services cost extra?

What to look for during the tour

Make a note of the following immediately after your visit and before touring the next community. Just like buying a house, it’s easy to get one residence’s features confused with another’s.

  • What was your first impression when you arrived? Was reception welcoming and friendly?
  • How clean and bright was the building?
  • Did your appointment start on time?
  • Were you hurried through the tour? You should feel comfortable to stop and watch activities and ask as many questions as you need.
  • Did you see residents actively moving around or socializing?
  • Did your host greet residents by name?
  • Did your host review the amenities, services and fees and leave you with a comprehensive information package to take home?

Questions to ask during the tour


When was the community build? Most recent renovation?

Do you have smoke detectors, CO detectors and sprinklers in every suite and throughout the building?

Is there underground resident parking? Is guest parking available? Is there a fee?


Can guests join me for meals or special occasion meals?

Can I book a guest suite for family or friends visiting from out of town?

Can my family and guests use the community amenities or join bus trips with me? Does that include my younger grandchildren?

Is there a private dining room where I can entertain my family?

Is there anywhere I can cook a meal for my family?


Are utilities, phone, TV and Internet included?

Are suites furnished or do I bring my own? Can I change paint colours or customize the suite before I move in?

Does every suite have an emergency response system?

Does the suite have a kitchenette or full kitchen? Can I use a toaster oven or hot plate?

Is there a washer/dryer in the suite?

Can I use my heating pad?


Is it open or assigned seating in the dining room?

When are meal times?

How do you accommodate dietary restrictions?

How many choices on a menu and how often do menus change? Are meals made from scratch on the premises? Can I ask for something that’s not listed?

Are meals served plated or buffet style?

Can I get meals served in my suite?

Can I get a drink or snack during the day?

What happens when I go away for vacation?


How often does my suite get cleaned? Can I pay for extra housekeeping service if I wish?

How do I handle my garbage?

How does laundry work? Can I have someone do all my laundry? My linens?

You can also print this checklist from the Ontario Retirement Communities Association to help you compare communities.

We would love to have you join us for lunch and a tour, so that we can show you around and answer all of your questions. Book a tour today at your nearest BayBridge Senior Living community.

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