Many senior living search companies people use online to help them find information about different facilities often advertise how they can make appointments for you at the facilities. Many people do not realize that you do not need an appointment to visit any senior facility. While some people may like to plan out their day to see a few different places you do not need the company to do that for you. The reason they want to do that for you is they will then be on record as your referral source so if you choose to move your loved one into that place they will receive a referral fee which is how they make money. They have great incentive to encourage you to choose a place and sign on the dotted line.
While it may be helpful in your busy day to schedule an appointment ahead of time to visit, I would encourage everyone to visit facilities unannounced. Whether that is the first time or later the second time around make sure you do. You will learn a lot of important things about a place when they are not expecting you. When they plan for your visit, they can have other staff members stop in and talk with you, they can have an activity going on in the main area for your benefit and interactions between people can often be played up for a prospective persons benefit.
When you drop in you see things as they are for that given day. How are things when they have not planned for your visit. As you wait for the sales person to come get you make sure to observe what's happening around you. Watch the staff, the residents, and what it "feels" like around you. Observe the dining room, staff and atmosphere as people gather to eat. A good facility doesn't care if you walk in or not and you should see good things and get a good feeling whenever you walk in. So if you do schedule an appointment make a point to do one visit either before or after the scheduled visit unannounced.