Choosing A New Place To Live

What To Consider When Contemplating A Move To Senior Housing

Thinking about moving to senior housing? Evaluate your options with the following questions:


The Property
• Are the grounds attractive? Is the building well kept?
• Is it handicap accessible? Are hallways and doors wide enough for walkers and wheelchairs?
• Are handrails in the hallways? Are there elevators as well as stairs?
• Is it well lit?
• Does it have a pleasant smell?
• Do you like its layout?
• Is it easy to find your way around?
• Is security on the grounds 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
• How far is it from where loved ones live?

The Staff
• Is everyone at every post – front desk, maintenance, housekeeping, healthcare, dining room – appropriately dressed, pleasant and attentive?
• Is the front-desk staff friendly on the phone and in person?
• Are your phone calls and emails responded to promptly?
• Is it easy to reach someone by phone and to leave a message?
• Do staff members know residents and address them appropriately?

The Residents
• Are the common areas active?
• Do residents look well and happy and are they socializing? Ask residents about life in their community and their satisfaction with services.
• Does the property have a newsletter or monthly calendar of events? If so, pick up several months’ worth of copies.

The Food
• What dining options are available? Is there more than one dining room? Can you have meals to go or delivered, and if so, is there an extra charge?
• What meals does the dining room serve and how many are included in the monthly fee?
Is the dining room full at dinner?
• What foods are available every day? Get sample monthly menus.
• Does the food taste good? Is it presented with pride? Are portions to your liking? Dine in the dining room at least once.
• Is there a private dining room if you wish to host a special event?

Services & Amenities
• What services are available? Laundry? Housekeeping? Transportation to shopping and special events?
• Is there transportation to private appointments? If so, how often, how far will they take you and is there an extra charge?
• Are there on-site recreational facilities?
• What activities are available daily? What special events are offered? Check out an events calendar.
• Is there an on-site hair salon or barber?
• Is there newspaper delivery and telephone, TV, cable and Internet availability?
• Are there accommodations for overnight guests?
• Is there assistance with Skype or FaceTime so out-of-town relatives and friends can visit virtually?
• Are any religious services offered?

Costs & Contracts
• What exactly is included in the monthly fee?
• Which utilities and services are extra?
• When can fees be raised and by how much?
• What happens if your funds run out?
• Do you need renter’s insurance?
• What can result in termination of your lease or contract? Read your lease or contract and make sure you understand everything in it. If you don’t, consult an attorney. If buying into a Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC, be sure to receive a contract and financial disclosure.
• What are your rights as a resident?
• What is the grievance procedure?

Your Living Space
In Independent Living
• What floor plans are available?
• Are pull cords throughout the residence in case of accident or emergency? Is 24-hour emergency response available?
• Can you control your own heat and air conditioning?
• Is the bathroom walker and wheelchair accessible?
• Can you open your windows?
• Can you have a washer and dryer in the apartment or is there a common laundry?
• Who has access to your apartment or home and under what conditions?
• If the campus has assisted living and skilled nursing, how does the transition to a different living arrangement work?
• Can you stay in an apartment overnight or longer to see how you like it?
• Are pets allowed? If so, are there restrictions? Is there a place to walk dogs? Is a dog walker available?

In Assisted Living & Skilled Nursing
• Can you lock your windows and doors?
• Who else has access to your room and under what conditions?
• Can couples live together in assisted living and skilled nursing rooms?
• Are rooms private or doubles? If doubles, can you request a private room, and if so, what is the charge?
• Are pets allowed? If so, what are the restrictions?

Healthcare Services
For Independent Living
• Is medical staff on site? If so, what are their hours?
• What healthcare services – such as medication management, care during illness and physical therapy – are offered onsite? What is the cost?
• Can you hire home care or home health care if needed and remain in your independent living apartment?
• At what point of care does a resident need to move from independent living to assisted living and who makes that decision? What are your rights should you disagree?

For Assisted Living
• Is it a licensed assisted-living facility or
multi-unit assisted housing (MAHS)
with services? Visit the North Carolina
Division of Health Service Regulation at for adult care facility inspections, ratings, penalties and more.
• What healthcare and daily-living support services are available?
• Are services all-inclusive or offered as levels of care?
• What is the staff-to-resident ratio and staff turnover rate?
• At what point of care does a resident need to move from assisted living to skilled nursing and who makes that decision?
• Is there a dementia care unit? If so, how is staff trained and what special services are offered?
• What are the daily scheduled activities?

For Skilled Care
• Are they licensed by the state? Does the facility have any violations? Visit the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation at for adult care facility inspections, ratings, penalties and more.
• Can you choose your own doctor?
• What healthcare and daily-living support services are included in the fee? What is extra?
• What is the staff-to-resident ratio and staff turnover rate?


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Brett Hulsey

Katie Cornwell
Business Development