Beware of these 6 red flags when touring senior housing


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When it’s time for you or a family member to move into senior housing — whether it’s a seniors-only community, an independent or assisted living facility or a nursing home — you don’t want to find blank-eyed residents slumped in front of an ancient TV game show in a dirty, smelly common room.

“The residence should have the right look and feel to the person who will live there, so visiting more than once is a good idea,” says Paula Carder, an assistant professor with the Institute on Aging at Portland State University in Oregon.

Adds Jody Gastfriend, vice president of senior care services at, a website devoted to a broad range of care needs: “Tours are very controlled, so it’s best to also stop by when you’re not taking a tour or at least sit in the lobby after the tour and talk to family members or residents.”

What kinds of things should you ask about — and be on alert for? Start with these red flags.