Dear Donna:

My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few months ago. Fortunately, his primary care doctor spotted the symptoms early and proactively referred Dad to a neurologist. While we know there is no cure for the disease, we are working with the physician to try to slow the progression.

Since my mom passed away three years ago, my dad has been living alone. He’s decided that instead of moving in with my family or my brother’s, he would like to move to an assisted living community as soon as possible. Though it isn’t what I wanted for him, it is his preference.

I’ve been researching assisted living communities close to our home. There are so many choices! Before I visit communities in person, I think I should make some phone calls and narrow down the list. Because this is all so new to me, I’m not sure what questions I should be asking. Do you have any suggestions?


Mary in Midland, MI

Creating a List of Questions to Ask an Assisted Living Community

Dear Mary:

It sounds like your father has put together a thoughtful plan for his future. There are many benefits to moving to an assisted living community sooner rather than later, such as:

  • Having a chance to get to know the community’s staff and residents
  • Participating in on-site wellness programs
  • Getting peace of mind from knowing he’ll have access to care when his needs change
  • Becoming familiar with the community early in his diagnosis

I understand the search process can feel overwhelming, and that’s true even for people who’ve been through this before. The best way to make an informed decision is by visiting potential communities in person a few times.

As you narrow your list to those communities you want to schedule appointments at, knowing which questions to ask is important. These are a few I would recommend:

  • Does the community have any current openings in assisted living? If not, how long is the waitlist?
  • Is there a dedicated memory care program for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia?
  • Does the memory care program have a waitlist?
  • How does the community help ensure a resident makes a smooth transition from traditional assisted living to memory care?
  • What are the monthly fees for assisted living and for memory care?
  • In addition to the monthly fees, what extra expenses is your dad likely to incur?
  • Is there a dedicated dining room for the memory care program?
  • Does the community have consistent staffing in the memory care program? Do team members who work in this area receive specialized training?
  • How will the community decide when it’s time for your dad to transition from assisted living to memory care?

I hope this information helps make your calls more productive!

Also, I’d like to invite you to put Edgewood Assisted Living Center on your list. It’s our Heritage community located in Saginaw, which is close to your Midland home. We offer assisted living, memory care, and respite services for older adults. Call us to arrange a tour at your convenience!

Kind regards,