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What to Look for When Touring an Assisted Living Community

Birches Assisted Living and Memory Care

Birches Assisted Living and Memory Care

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What to Look for When Touring an Assisted Living Community (1)

Choosing the right assisted living community requires diligence. After defining available options, the next step is to schedule a tour of each. To prepare for touring an assisted living community, it’s a good idea to know what to look for and what questions to ask. From curb appeal to the dining room to housing and activities here are some essential items to include on your list.  

Overall cleanliness 

When choosing any new home, cleanliness should be at the top of the list. Start with outdoor maintenance like lawns, walking paths and parking lots. Moving indoors look for clean windows, walls and floors, and uncluttered and accessible halls and community spaces. In apartments, bathrooms and kitchen areas should be spotless as should floors, walls, windows, and closets. When touring an assisted living community be sure to ask: 

  • • How often are apartments cleaned? Can you request additional cleanings? 
  • • What does cleaning include? 
  • • Are laundry and/or linen services included? 
  • • Is there a maintenance team on site? How often? 

Care options  

When touring an assisted living community the emphasis should be on assistance. For example, one member may need a little help with showering while another will require assistance getting out of bed, dressing and managing medications. Some members may also need therapies or emotional support to improve their quality of life. At The Birches our comprehensive services are among the best, but to compare with others ask the following: 

  • • What care services are available? 
  • • Are detailed service plans completed? 
  • • Are medications administered by a qualified licenses nurse?  
  • • Are therapies provided on-site? 
  • • Will team members work with outside care agencies? 
  • • Are other qualified medical professionals available for members? 


Needing a little or a lot of daily assistance shouldn’t preclude living an independent and autonomous lifestyle. In fact, greater independence should be a key factor to consider. When touring an assisted living community keep an eye out for how members spend their days, what activities and events are going on, and what outdoor options are offered. It’s also a good idea to check out transportation and what if any trips are planned. At The Birches we embrace the Montessori Inspired Lifestyle which is designed to help each member thrive and live with dignity and purpose even when they need daily assistance. Again, don’t hesitate to ask: 

  • • Is there a daily activity calendar? 
  • • Are there exercise classes? 
  • • What types of off-site activities are planned? 
  • • Are families welcome to visit and join in activities and events? 
  • • Are there opportunities to volunteer? 
  • • Are families connected to activity attendance and communications? 

Team member engagement and qualifications 

Observing how team members interact with members when touring an assisted living community is also important. If members appear to need assistance but none is available or a team member doesn’t provide help with compassion, these may be red flags. Team members should be engaged with members throughout the community in planned activities, moving from place to place, taking walks, or just conversing. These are all signs that team members not only know their job, but love it and do it well. 

It’s also a good idea to know about the training and qualifications of team members. From management on down, team members should be vetted, have appropriate college degrees or certifications and receive ongoing training. For an in-depth look, check out the article, “How To Choose a Nursing Home or Other Long-Term Care Facility,” and ask: 

  • • Are background checks performed on all team members or just some? 
  • • What types of training are required/provided? 
  • • What is the team member-to-member ratio? 
  • • Are there licensed medical professionals on-site? 
  • • How are medical emergencies handled? 
  • • Are your overnight hours staffed with employees or agency staff? 

Housing options 

When touring an assisted living community another key component is housing. Look for clean apartments that are bright and well-maintained. Next, check for the details that make quality assisted living stand out. Among these are bathrooms with raised toilets, walk-in showers, grab bars and call buttons, lever-handle faucets in kitchens and baths, wide doorways, and large ergonomic keys. Another aspect is the number of floor plans offered since many communities only offer one or two. At The Birches we understand that cookie-cutter apartments limit choices so we offer nine different floor plans to suit different needs and desires.  

Culinary experience 

As you whittle down your possible senior living community choices, you should try the dining. Touring an assisted living community should always include a meal in the dining room when down to your top two, so if possible, come back to experience the quality of their food and meal service. This provides the chance to see and taste the culinary offerings and experience the services and environment. At The Birches we take food very seriously and enlist the help of our members in choosing menu items and creating meals that are not only nutritious but appetizing and delicious. In addition, we plan social hours where members can enjoy a glass of wine or beer and spend time together just relaxing and having fun. Questions to ask:  

  • • How often do recipes change or meal options?
  • • Can a member request something off the menu?
  • • Do you offer modified diets?

See for yourself the best in assisted living and memory care: contact us today to schedule a tour of our beautiful community.