When families look into assisted living communities, they usually take a tour to investigate and see the different amenities and programs that it can offer their parent.  It can be a lot to understand and it is always suggested to take a notebook with you and write down the information you believe is essential.

With that being said, we think there are four critical areas to think about when touring assisted living communities.  


This is a huge one.  Check to see how clean the community is.  

The old saying goes, if it’s not clear where you can see it, what is happening behind the scenes?

Is there dust on the baseboards, tops of TVs or on chairs? 

Are their stains on the rugs or carpets.  Does it smell bad or have an overpowering smell to cover something up?

These are all things to check for when going into a community and looking at how clean the room is kept where your parent will be staying.



Food is something that is important to everyone.

The fact is people of all ages like to complain.  It’s why as a business it can be so difficult to get good reviews, but one bad experience motivates people like nothing else.

The reason I bring this up is the biggest complaint and topic of conversation is the food. 

What did they eat?

How did it taste?

How often do they have it?

It’s all about food.

So try it.  Does it look appetizing?  Does the menu fluctuate a lot?  Does the food taste good?

How long has the head chef been working in the community – the longer, the better.

That brings us to our next topic.


Consistency of Staff

All companies have a turnover.  In the senior care industry, you are doing great if you have less than a 50% turnover rate with your home health aides and CNAs.  

So my point is to look more closely at the department heads.

  • Admissions
  • Executive Director
  • Wellness Director
  • Memory Care Director
  • Food Service Director
  • Business Office

These are some departments where you might wish to ask how long they have been working there.  Ideally the longer, the better.

There is a skilled nursing facility that has retained their department heads for nearly a decade.  Then there are ones that have turnover every six months.

One of the more cynical thoughts I have had with this business, is if I make a call to see if we can earn a facilities referrals, and the person is rude or is uninterested, I say “someone new will be in there in less than 10 months” and most of the time I am right.

So consistency of staff is important, and I look highly on it.



See what the decor and overall feeling and ‘vibe’ of the community is.

Most communities that are being built new or renovated are going for more modern feel. A real community where everything is all in one place for them.

They have:

  • Outdoor patio area
  • Bars
  • Cafes (multiple)
  • Reading nooks
  • Movie theaters
  • Entertainment rooms (multiple)
  • Living rooms with TVs
  • Lounges
  • Libraries

So when you walk in, does it seem outdated or has it been recently renovated.

Now you might now want the best of the best.  It all depends on your situation and your parent’s desires.  

Just look at the decor and see if it looks tired or has it been updated recently?


Wrapping It Up

So there you have it, four things to make sure to look at when tour assisted living communities in your area.  

Did we miss anything?  Any tips or tricks that I should know about that you have done when on a tour of an ALF?

Listen to the podcast to hear Janet’s take on this – she worked in one for years and had a few tips I didn’t mention in the blog post.