Tour of communities explores senior living

Are you thinking about moving into a retirement community but just don’t know where to start looking or even what questions to ask? During the past six years, five Tacoma senior living communities have hosted a combined senior living tour and toured over 1,000 seniors that had questions about senior living just like you. The next Tacoma Senior Living Community Tour is on March 11 from 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The participating communities are Franke Tobey Jones, Merrill Gardens, Narrows Glen, Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community and the Weatherly Inn.

“Most seniors who have taken this tour have never stepped inside a retirement community before,” says Christine Hall, senior director of marketing and public relations at Franke Tobey Jones. “When most people think about retirement communities, they conjure up all kinds of terrible images and smells from visiting their mom and grandma in a nursing home decades ago.  Retirement living is not like that any more.  Our communities are beautiful, vibrant, active and offer wonderful chef-prepared meals, classes, trips, tours and the opportunity to meet new friends and have fun.”

Each tour is informative, and attendees walk away having learned a lot about living in a retirement community. You will get an overview of each community, walk through common areas and see actual apartments. You will also have the opportunity to taste the food at each community, compare prices and ask as many questions as you want in a friendly, relaxed environment.

Linda Lee, community relations director at Merrill Gardens, says attendees “walk away at the end of the day with a totally different perspective than what they started with at the beginning of the day.  We can’t emphasize enough that there is a lot of walking on the tour, so wear comfortable clothing and shoes.”

You might have questions such as, What is the monthly rent and what does it cover? Is a community pet-friendly, and does it cost more to have a pet? Is there a waiting list? What is a “buy-in,” and is there one? What is the difference between assisted living and memory care, or memory care and skilled nursing? What is the highest level of care? Is therapy offered? What happens if my spouse needs memory care and I don’t–can we still live in your community? The vans fill up very fast and seats are limited, so please RSVP to reserve a seat on one of the community vans.  Or, if you’d like to drive yourself, please still RSVP so the organizers will have a good head-count for food, brochures, and so on. To be on one of the vans you must RSVP by March 9 by calling 253-320-4216.

The program of the day is as follows:

• 9: 45 a.m. Start at one of the five communities. Hear a short presentation about Senior Living Communities and about today’s activities.Tour that community.

• 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get aboard the community van or drive your own car to the next community. Each van will have a representative from that community to answer questions. Vans will stop at all five locations, or drive yourself and visit the communities you choose. Tour ends. We’ll get you back to your starting community.

For information or to RSVP, call 253-756-7562 by March 9.