How to Tour a 55+ Community

Last Updated: November 5, 2018How to Tour a 55+ Community

Age-restricted communities, whether they’re described as active adult or 55+ communities, are increasingly popular with older adults. Empty nesters who are done spending weekends on home chores and updates flock to 55+ communities for the amenities they offer and for the prospect of health care as they age.

Are you considering it? Learn more about how to tour a 55+ community and get the information you need to plan your next move.

1. Ask lots of questions.

Your 55+ community tour guide expects questions, so ask away and take notes. Some topics to cover are:

  • Are deposits refundable, and if so, under what conditions?
  • Are pets welcome?
  • Are there age limits on who can visit you and for how long?
  • Are there high-quality healthcare resources nearby such as a regional medical center?
  • Are there onsite health and wellness services such as a massage therapist, nurse or pharmacy?
  • Can the kitchen accommodate special diets?
  • Is there space you can reserve for special occasions?
  • What are residents’ transportation options?
  • What’s included in the monthly rate and what’s available for an extra fee?
  • When might you need to move to a different unit or building? When might you need to move out of the community?

If the community offers a continuity of care, get the details on available services and any limitations on care. AARP also offers a long-form list of questions to consider here.

2. Keep an eye out during the tour.

During your tour, look for:

  • Accessible and safe building entrances, public areas and walkways
  • Restricted access or security to ensure residents’ safety
  • Well-maintained buildings and grounds

Check out all the amenities, which may include a fitness center, library, pool and more.

3. Plan your visits.

When you schedule your tours, ask about meal times and prices. Ideally, you’ll visit each community on your list more than once and eat a meal or two at each place to check out the dining service and the social vibe.

Take family members or friends with you if you can. They may notice details or ask questions you might overlook and you can talk over your impressions with them later.

4. Talk to residents.

If you have a chance to talk with residents, try to get a read on the social scene.

For extroverts, are there enough group activity options to keep you feeling content and socially connected?

For introverts, does the community provide time and space for solitary pursuits and quiet activities?

For everyone, is the staff pleasant and responsive to residents’ needs?

What to Do After Your 55+ Community Tour

Review your brochures and notes from each community visit. Compare notes with friends or relatives who went with you.

Follow up with your tour guide if you have more questions and check out online reviews by current and former residents.

Make follow-up visits to the places that are most appealing and take the time to understand each community’s policies before you make your choice.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance writer whose childhood was made awesome by her grandmothers, great-grandmother, great-aunts and -uncles, and their friends.


  1. William W. Hamilton October 11, 2016 Reply

    garage or covered parking? Who removes snow? does bathroom have non skid tiles? have grab-bar in shower? individual heat/cooling controls? written procedures for changing accomodations, ie from smaller to larger apts, or viceversa? doctor in residence? available transport to doctors/lawyers/stores? periodic refurbishment of living units? list of service fees in addition to scheduled charges (turn mattress, cleaning, take out meals, etc).policy re tipping?how much is entry fee and what is it for/how used? history of changes in fees for past five years? all available data re financials of of the operation.(Profit and non profit) Be sure to talk with some residents, re things they like, changes they would suggest, their favorite activity, do a computer search on each facility and compare, including style and completeness of each self description.what you want to know is how much do they really care about you and your comfort and happiness!

  2. kmead October 11, 2016 Reply

    Looking for more cooperative multi-generational housing in my community, want equity and community with folks of all ages.

  3. Dave craycraft October 11, 2016 Reply

    1 rent cost
    2. What are the utilities cost
    3. Is it truly a 55 + some communities allow age 40 if the spouse is 55
    4. Is it independent living, no walkers, wheel chairs, or medical support.
    5. What type of activities for the residents .
    6. What are the community room , library, media, laundry specs
    7. Are motorcycles, trucks, bikes , allowed
    8. Security,security,security,
    9. Are the walls soundproof or paper thin
    10. How many cars allowed per resident rental.
    11. What are the lease specs.

  4. Steven Czyrny November 23, 2018 Reply

    Thanks for sharing helpful questionnaires to tour a 55+ community.

  5. Paula Kennedy October 2, 2019 Reply

    This has been very helpful and saved a lot on gas. Otherwise, I’d be driving all over to look at these places, It’s giving me hints on what to look for when I do take a tour and what questions to ask as well. Thanks.

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