senior woman smiling
Independent Living Community Checklist

As we age, many of us are faced with the prospect of revising our living arrangements. If you feel overwhelmed by home upkeep, cut off from transportation and social amenities, or simply want more companionship with others your age, an independent living facility may be a good option. While moving is always stressful, by planning ahead and giving yourself time and space to cope with change, you can enjoy your independence and thrive in a new home. We’ve compiled a checklist for you, to assist with making your decision.

First Impression
  • Do you like the facilities location and outward appearance?
  • Can the resident access a medical complex easily?
  • Is there transportation provided?
  • Are you welcomed with a warm greeting from the staff?
  • Does the staff address residents by their names and interact with them during your tour?
  • Do you notice the residents socializing with each other and do they appear content?
  • Can you talk with residents about how they like living there and about the staff?
  • Is the staff appropriately dressed, friendly and outgoing?
  • What percentage of the home has been rented and is occupied?
  • Is there a wait list? If so, how long do they estimate it will be for a unit to become available?
  • What kind of reputation does the facility have in the community?
Living Area and Accommodation
  • Have the common areas and apartments been designed to allow you to live as easily and independently as you would like? Is the floor plan well designed and easy to follow?
  • Are doorways, hallways and rooms accommodating to wheelchairs and walkers?
  • Do the residents have good lighting, sprinklers and clearly marked exits?
  • Is the residence clean, free of odours and appropriately heated/cooled?
  • Are the common areas in general homey, comfortable and clean?
  • Is there an outside courtyard or patio for residence and visitors and can they garden?
  • Are there different sizes of units available?
  • Does the residence have furnished/unfurnished rooms? What is provided? What can they bring?
  • May a resident decorate their own apartment?
  • Is there adequate storage space?
  • Do all units have a telephone and cable TV and how is billing handled?
  • Does the residence provide any meals, if so, how many times a day, how many days a week, and how does the menu vary from meal to meal?
  • Are special diets catered to?
  • Are residents involved in menu planning?
  • And may they request special foods?
  • Does the dining room area encourage residents to relax, socialize and enjoy their food?
  • Can residents choose to eat in their rooms?
  • How many meals are included in the fee? If a resident becomes ill, is tray service available?
  • Can residents have guests dine with them? Is there an additional fee? Is there a private dining room for special events/or occasions if desired?
Social and Recreational
  • What kinds of group/individual recreational activities of any, are offered? Who Schedules them?
  • Is there an organized activities program with a posted daily schedule of events?
  • Do volunteers and family members come into the residence to participate/conduct programs?
  • Does the facility schedule trips or go to other events off premise?
  • Do the residents participate in in activities outside of the residence in the neighbouring community?
  • Are the resident activity areas appropriate and desirable to theprospective resident?
  • Are there supplies for social activities/hobbies (games, cards, crafts, computers, gardening?)
  • Are religious services held on premises or arrangements made for nearby services?
  • Are there fitness facilities, as well as regularly scheduled exercise classes?
  • Ask about the residence’s practices and philosophy regarding staffing.
  • Are criminal background checks, references and certifications required?
  • Is the staff courteous to residents and to each other?
  • Is the manager or appropriate staff person generally available to answer questions or discuss problems and would you be comfortable dealing with them on a daily bases?
  • What additional services are available if the residents’ needs change? Is staff available to coordinate these services?
Health/Personal Care/Services
  • How are medical emergencies handled?
  • Is there a staff person to coordinate home care visits etc?
  • Are housekeeping, linen service and personal laundry included in the fees, or are they available at an additional charge? Are on-site laundry facilities available and convenient?
  • Does the residence provide transportation to doctors’ offices, the hairdresser, shopping and other activities desired by residents and can it be arranged on short notice?
  • Are pharmacy, barber/beautician and/or physical therapy services offered on-site or nearby?
Moving In, Contracts and Finances
  • What’s involved with the moving in/out process?
  • How much is the monthly fee? How often can it be increased and for what reasons?
  • Is there a limit on the amount of increases per year?
  • What is the history on monthly fee increases?
  • Are residents required to purchase renters’ insurance for personal property in their units?