Choosing a new place to live can be both exciting and stressful. It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to ask important questions. Here are the 10 of the most important questions you should ask when you meet with the marketing representatives at a community.
1. How much is the monthly rent and what does it include?
Of course price is one of the most important factors for most of us when choosing a new place to live so it is important to find out how much it will cost to live there and find out exactly what that includes. They may also offer extra services or amenities at an additional cost so make sure to find out the breakdown of those things as well.
2. How much money is required up front?
Find out how much money they will want you to put down as a deposit and whether or not there is an application fee. Often the deposit is refundable, but an application fee likely isn’t. If you will be bringing a pet, find out if there is an additional deposit.
3. Is there a waiting list?
As the need for senior housing grows, many communities are filling up to capacity. If you find a community you love, you many need to be placed on a waiting list until something opens up. Find out how their list works and how long they anticipate you will be waiting before something becomes available.
4. How long is the lease term?
Ask about the length of the lease and find out what the penalty is if you have to break it. You might also inquire about how often they increase rents and by how much and do they offer a “lock.”
5. Is the community staffed 24 hours per day?
Things can go wrong at any time of the day so it’s important to know if staff and/or maintenance is available to residents at all times.
6. Is there an emergency response system in the community?
As we age, it’s comforting to know that we can call for help easily if we need it. Most communities offer some sort of emergency response service. This may include call buttons or pull cords in apartments, bathrooms and hallways as well as personalize pendants. Ask what they have and how their system works and how often they do practice runs.
7. Does the community provide transportation for appointments?
Many communities will provide transportation for medical appointments if scheduled in advance. Some also take residents for groceries, shopping and social outings. Find out if that is something they offer and what their policy is for taking individuals to appointments.
8. What meal options are available?
More and more communities are offering meal service in some form or fashion. Many Active Adult communities offer continental breakfasts and/or happy hours and most Independent and Assisted Living communities will offer at least some full meals. Find out how many meals are offered and what choices are available and inquire about the availability of snacks and beverages.
9. What are the health reasons that might require me to move?
Make sure you find out what would happen if you injured yourself or your health declined. Would they hold your apartment for a short-term rehab stay? Would you be able to stay if you require on-site assistance?
10. What activities are available for residents?
Most senior communities offer a vast menu of activities for their residents to enjoy – games, crafts, dancing, exercise and everything in between. Chances are if you have a hobby, they have a group that does it. Ask for a schedule of events so you can see what they offer and what might appeal to you.
We’ve put together a free worksheet for you to log your answers to these questions as you tour communities. Get your free download below!