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What to Look for When Visiting Continuing Care Retirement Communities

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Continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, are a popular choice for older adults looking to downsize their current homes. Unlike other types of standalone senior living facilities, CCRCs offer all levels of senior housing on the same campus, including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, and often memory care for seniors living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

If you’re considering the benefits of a CCRC for an older loved one, it’s important to visit and tour nearby communities before making a final decision. During your visit, use this checklist to evaluate your options and select the best continuing care retirement community for your loved one.


  • Are the community’s grounds and buildings clean, well-maintained and up-to-date?
  • Is the retirement community in a convenient, desirable location for family to visit?
  • Are there grocery stores, pharmacies, shopping malls, and other community attractions nearby? Does the community have on-site hair salons, barber shops, fitness centers, physical therapy, restaurants, or other conveniences?
  • Are your loved one’s doctors close, and is there a hospital nearby?
  • Does the community have outdoor areas, walking trails, or gardens?
  • Is there a place of worship on campus?


  • How many meals are served each day? Ask to view a menu or stay for a meal. Does the community provide food with variety and good nutritional value? Can special diets be accommodated?
  • Does the community offer community dining, private dining for families, or any other dining options such as tray service to residents’ rooms?
  • Are personal laundry services available? What about daily or weekly housekeeping?
  • Are transportation services offered?
  • Ask to see the different care levels in the community, even if your loved one doesn’t currently need them. Ask how the accommodations and services adjust as residents’ needs change.


  • What’s your initial impression of the community? For example, it warm and inviting, or cold and sterile?
  • Do residents seem friendly and welcoming? Do they appear to enjoy living in the community?
  • What social opportunities are available for residents? Ask if you can see an activity calendar or sit in on a social event to observe how residents interact with one another.
  • Are there off-site trips to local attractions, such as concerts, museums, or community events?


  • Is the staff professional and eager to help you?
  • How do the community’s staff members interact with residents? Look for laughter, smiles, and other signs that the employees enjoy their work. It’s usually a good sign if staff members greet residents by name as they pass them in the hall.
  • What’s the staff to resident ratio? Look for a community that has more care providers per resident to ensure your loved one receives personal attention.

Safety and security

  • Does the retirement community have 24/7 security monitoring?
  • Do residents have access to emergency alert systems or devices? Ask if the community
  • What emergency procedures are in place? For example, is there an evacuation plan?

When it comes to selecting a continuing care retirement community for your parent or older loved one, it’s important to keep their wishes and interests in mind. After all, retirement is meant to be enjoyed! Can you picture your loved one thriving and living comfortably in the community, surrounded by friendly people and hobbies or activities they love? Be sure to ask plenty of questions and pay attention to details on your visit and you’re sure to find the right retirement community for your loved one.

Written by Bethany Village

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