Dear Donna:

My brother and I have recently started the search for an assisted living community in Michigan for our mother. She is reluctant to consider moving, so we are trying to narrow down the choices to those we strongly believe would be a good match.

Based on our research and phone calls, we have a list of assisted living communities that seem to meet our criteria. Our next step is to visit the communities. We can’t decide whether we should take her along. Should we wait until we’ve found what we think is the best community?

Can you offer any advice?

Elizabeth in Holly, MI

Visiting Assisted Living Communities for a Parent

Dear Elizabeth:

This is a great question that comes up quite often among adult children. When a senior isn’t fully onboard with moving to an assisted living community, having them go along on tours of communities you haven’t seen yet can be risky. If a community is obviously not the right fit, it can put your mom off moving. While you want your mother to feel like part of the decision-making process, screening out communities that don’t seem to be a good match is probably helpful.

Another factor to consider is your mother’s health. If she has problems with mobility, for example, limiting the number of assisted living communities you tour together might be the best approach. She will still feel involved in the process and have an opportunity to see communities without being overly taxed.

Whatever you decide, there are a few questions I recommend you ask:

  • How long is the tenure of the average caregiver?
  • What types of activities are available? Are there activities on weekends and evenings?
  • What is included in the monthly fee? What additional expenses should you expect to incur each month?
  • How did the community perform on its last state survey? Ask to see a copy of the survey if it’s not available online.
  • If your mother’s care needs change, can the community accommodate them, or will she be required to move again?
  • Can family members visit at any time or are visiting hours restricted?
  • What steps are the community’s staff taking to protect residents from COVID-19?

AARP created a comprehensive checklist of questions to ask on an assisted living tour. You can download and print it here.

If your mother continues to be resistant to moving, you could take advantage of short-term stays. Known as respite care, it’s a good way for a senior to try out a community. Respite Care as an Assisted Living Trial has more details on these services.

I hope this information is helpful! Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Kind regards,


Visit a Heritage Senior Community This Winter

With communities throughout Michigan and one in Indiana, we encourage older adults and their families to make Heritage a part of their search for assisted living. Call the Heritage community nearest you to learn more today!