senior man looking on a laptop how to virtually touring senior living communities

Virtually Touring a Senior Living Community: What You Need to Know

As we continue to work through this unique time, many seniors are still making plans for a fulfilling, thriving future in retirement. Although safety concerns have forced many senior living communities to not accept visitors, they’re providing other options for learning more about the services and lifestyles they offer. A senior living virtual tour is a safe, informational alternative to in-person visits. Here’s what you need to know:

What You Can Expect

If you’re not accustomed to FaceTime or video chatting, virtual tours can seem a little daunting, even overwhelming. Rest assured a community team member will be with you every step of the way. They’ll likely take you on a guided virtual tour of the community grounds, possibly walk you through a residence, and answer any questions you might have along the way. Many communities provide a detailed presentation during the tour, giving you a good basis from which to ask additional questions.

It’s wise to do your own research on the community you’re virtually visiting before jumping on a tour. Click through the community’s website, Facebook page, and try to find reviews of the community on Google. As your appointment nears, try making a high-level list of questions to ask senior living communities. Think about what you would ask community team members if you were face-to-face, touring the community in person. But because you’re not physically there, try to place emphasis on more detailed questions about the day-to-day life of residents in the community — something you’d normally see on in-person tours.

How a Virtual Tour Works

You’ll log in to your senior living virtual tour via a smartphone, tablet or computer, likely using one of the more popular video chat apps available today. Zoom, Apple FaceTime, and Skype are among the most popular video chat apps today, so you can expect to get an email from the community inviting you to join one of these programs. That email will contain all the information you’ll need to attend the virtual tour. All you’ll have to do is accept the invitation and any pop-ups requesting access to your microphone, speakers and camera. Then you’ll be able to mute yourself and turn your camera on or off as you please.

During your tour, you might be in a video chat with a group of other prospective residents similarly looking to experience the senior living community while staying safe from home. Then again, you may have requested a private virtual tour of a community, in which you, and family members if you choose, will meet with just one community team member – likely a sales counselor. This is ideal if you have specific questions you want to ask about operations, particular services and amenities, care plans, cost, individual levels of care, and anything in between.

Regardless of the virtual tour setting, a community team member will lead you around the community just as if it were an in-person tour. Only now, through video, you can sit comfortably during the tour. At any point in the tour, feel free to ask questions.

Key Questions for Senior Living Virtual Tours

Now for arguably the most important and valuable portion of any senior living virtual tour — the Q&A. Once again, you should feel free to ask any questions during the tour, but many communities will have a dedicated Q&A portion of the tour, sometimes even with current community residents in attendance to field questions. Since you won’t be there yourself, use these questions to help you formulate your own list of questions to ask:

–   What services are provided in residences?

–   How frequently are services provided?

–   How many staff members care for each resident?

–   What type of training does your senior care staff have?

–   Are staff on-site 24/7?

–   What is the procedure for medical emergencies?

–   What types of security and safety measures do you have in place?

–   What degrees of care are offered in assisted living facilities?

–   Do you complete an assessment prior to moving in?

–   Are pets allowed?

–   Can visitors come and go at will?

–   What is the waitlist policy?

–   How many residence units are in the community?

–   What floor plans are available?

–   Does each level of living offer private residences?

–   What contract types does the community offer?

–   What is the entrance fee?

–   What is the monthly fee?

–   Does the community have a full continuum of care?

–   Is all care on-site?

–   How many dining options do residents have?

–   Where do residents usually eat meals?

–   Is there a scheduled activity calendar?

–   Are all amenities free for resident use?

Staying Active at The Buckingham

While maintaining all social distancing, decontamination and safety protocols during this time, The Buckingham has ensured residents are living the active, connected lifestyles they’re accustomed to. To schedule your virtual or in-person tour of our gorgeous community, don’t hesitate to contact us through our website or call us any time at 713-979-3090. We’ll be here to help you every step of the way.