Dear Donna:

I am searching for an assisted living community for my mother and I know it’s important to visit and take tours. However, I don’t just want to see the building and grounds. I want to be sure I come away from the tour having learned what I need to know.

The problem is I’m not sure what that is! How should I prepare? What questions should I ask? Help!!

-Sheila in Saginaw


Questions Families Must Ask on an Assisted Living Tour

Dear Sheila,

You are definitely on the right track in wanting to ask good questions during your assisted living tour! Sounds like you just need a few questions to get going.

Assisted living tours are the best way for caregivers and their senior loved ones to get a feel for a particular community. Seeing the living spaces in person is important. But the real insight you’ll gain from your visit comes from the people you will meet.

Only from talking to the people who live and work at an assisted living community can you get a true sense of whether or not it is a good fit for a senior.

Questions to Ask When You’re On an Assisted Living Tour

You’re there to get a true picture of what it’s like to live in an assisted living community, so here are the three of the most important questions to ask.

  1. What services are available?

Some assisted living centers are stand-alone communities while others are part of a continuum of care. The additional levels of care at the community might include memory care, respite care, and independent living. Some families prefer this continuum of services so if their senior loved one’s needs change down the road, they won’t have to move again.

  1. What programs and activities are available?

Assisted living isn’t just about getting help with the tasks of daily living. It’s also about living a healthy lifestyle filled with enriching activities, programs, and events. So it is important to ask what sort of life enrichment activities and wellness programs there are each day. Also ask about special events and outings to local restaurants, parks and other attractions.

Another dimension to wellness is whether staff encourages residents to participate in programs and activities. You’ll want to talk to staff directly to learn more about the community’s wellness model and whether it includes personalized attention to case management.

  1. What staff members are on-site throughout the day (and night)?

The staff-to-resident ratio can vary from community to community, so this is an important area to investigate. Also, you’ll want to ask how many nurses are on hand at any given moment, and how often a doctor visits the community.

Don’t forget to ask about staff training and turnover, too. It’s usually a very strong indicator of the quality of care and services residents receive. If the staff is always coming and going, it’s going to be hard for them to get to know your senior loved one and their needs.


More Questions and a Checklist for Your Assisted Living Tour

The AARP maintains a comprehensive checklist for caregivers and their senior loved ones to use when they’re visiting assisted living communities. I’d recommend printing it out and using it before and during your tour.


Visit and Experience Heritage Senior Communities

At Heritage Senior Communities, we love visitors! We always encourage families to come for a tour, meet our staff and stay for lunch if you can.


There are Heritage Senior Communities located across the state of Michigan and in northern Indiana. Each offers a range of services, including assisted living care, independent senior living, dementia care, and short-term respite stays. Visit us online to find a Heritage community near you and schedule a tour.

I hope this helps, Sheila!

Kind Regards,