Questions to Ask When Touring a Life Plan Community

Sep 13, 2019 7:49:00 AM / by Collington Care Consultant

Whether you are actively looking or are just casually browsing, asking the right questions on your tour is crucial to knowing which Life Plan Community (also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community) will be the right fit for you. By preparing a list of questions you want to ask beforehand, you can be sure to ask the tough questions that will help you in deciding which place you want to call home.

Who are the residents? Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 7.22.51 PM

This may be a question you wouldn’t normally think of asking, but knowing who you will be living among can help you decide which Plan community is right for you. Ask about the male to female ratio, and the percentage of single vs. married residents. Depending on what you are looking for, you may want to know you’ll have a wide range of single friends, or maybe you are looking for other couples to spend time with. Knowing the breakdown of the community will be helpful when narrowing down your options.


What services are provided and what will cost extra?

Communities differ in terms of what your monthly cost covers and what might be an additional charge. Make sure you get a detailed breakdown of where your monthly fee is going, if it only covers rent or if it includes utilities, housekeeping, laundry, etc. Find out exactly what isn’t covered and how much extra it will be for you out of pocket.


What meals are provided and when?Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 2.03.53 PM

Most communities provide 2-3 meals each day in their common dining area. If you don’t plan on or are unable to cook for yourself and will be taking advantage of provided meals, make sure to ask what the meal hours are. Also see what options for food are outside of meal hours and how they can handle any potential dietary restrictions. You also may be able to eat at the dining area during your visit to get a better idea of what you can expect.


What activities are provided and what is participation like?

Checkout the lineup of activities, committees and groups the community has to offer. Even if they have an impressive schedule, are they well attended? Are the activities they provide ones you would be interested in? 


What if my spouse and I need different levels of care?Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 7.46.52 PM

This can often be a difficult subject when looking at Life Plan Communities. It can be perfectly possible to keep spouses together even under different levels of care, but there are some circumstances where it may not be the best option. Be sure to ask how these situations are handled and in which cases you and your spouse would be required to live in separate housing.


How are residents kept safe?

Safety is a crucial part of feeling comfortable and at home in a Life Plan Community. Ask for details, learn about security, cameras, keypads, etc. that the buildings may be equipped with in order to keep you safe. Ask questions like, do residents have access to alert buttons for emergencies? Are there handrails in the showers? Is staff available 24/7? Are there nightly safety checks or regular visits?


What is transportation like?

Although you may have everything you need in your Life Plan Community, it is still important to know how to navigate the world outside. Ask what transportation options are available, what are the hours? Is transportation included in your fees or is that an additional cost? How do you go about requesting a ride?


What is the staff like?
Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 7.42.14 PM

Ask to see any recent reports or ratings the staff has received and learn about why they received the rating they did. Collington's Skilled Nursing Facility recently received the highest rating of "Deficiency Free" by the Maryland Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Quality. Be sure to ask about any issues a community may have encountered in the past and how they fixed them, and ask residents how their experience has been involving the staff. Residents will likely be the best judge of how good the staff is since they get interact with them on a regular basis.


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Topics: senior living, CCRC, Senior Living Dining, Life Plan Community, LPC