How to Talk to an Elderly Loved One About Moving into Assisted Living
Brian SheridanApr 13th, 2022
Your parents have lived independently since before you were born. They're used to carrying out the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, grooming, cooking, and dressing without needing assistance.
However, as they age, they sometimes lose the ability to carry out many of these essential tasks independently due to declining health or loss of physical mobility. At this point, it's often prudent to seek other living arrangements, such as an Assisted Living community, where support is available for your elderly loved one to maintain an optimal quality of life.
Finding the most suitable Senior Living Community can be challenging enough. An even more difficult task is convincing your older loved one that moving into a community is the best move for their long-term well-being.
It's perfectly normal to be met with resistance when you first suggest the idea. Nobody enjoys the notion of losing their independence, especially if it involves leaving a home they've lived in for decades and getting help for tasks they've been able to manage almost their entire life. It's an emotional topic for everyone involved, but being prepared with the right information and having healthy, positive discussions about your concerns for their health, safety, and well-being early on in the process can help the older adult to be more open to the idea of moving to a Senior Living Community.
Here are seven tips that can help move the discussion forward:
1. Be honest and open
People don't always recognize when they need help. However, you might notice significant changes in their ability to carry out everyday tasks. For example, are they forgetting to take medications? Is their living space unusually unkempt? Perhaps there's been a noticeable change in their weight or personal hygiene. If you have concerns about their health and safety, gently bring your concerns into the conversation in a calm, supportive, non-judgmental manner.
2. Learn about local Senior Living Community options
When you start the conversation about Assisted Living, your loved one will likely have many questions. You can be prepared by researching Assisted Living beforehand so you can provide the information they need about the transition. Online research can also kickstart the topic by sending them an authoritative article on the benefits of Assisted Living and letting them know that you'd like to discuss it. Be sure to approach the idea by consistently showing that you're concerned about their needs and not just taking everything over.
3. Always keep their needs and well-being in the spotlight
The conversation shouldn't be about what's easier for you and your family but be centered around your loved one's health and safety needs. Ask about what's most important to them to maintain an optimal quality of life, including health and social needs. You can then reassure them that Senior Living Communities can look after their necessities while helping them thrive in a wonderful new setting. Talk to your local Assisted Living Locators Advisor for help matching your loved one with the perfect senior living community in your area.
4. Provide choices without making decisions
Resist the urge to make decisions on your parents' behalf. As well-intentioned as your actions might be, they will still want to make decisions for themselves to retain their independence. Present them with the available choices for their senior planning and include them in every decision to keep them engaged, interested, and open to new ideas.
5. Be realistic about finances
Placing a loved one in Assisted Living is an often difficult discussion topic that can get trickier when finances are brought up. The truth is that Senior Living Communities can be expensive, depending on the level of care your parents need. However, several options, such as long-term care insurance, will help pay for care down the road while preserving as much of the older adult's wealth as possible. Ask your Senior Living Advisor at Assisted Living Locators to help you identify ways you can fund senior care.
6. Give them time to decide
Your loved one likely won't be making a decision within the first few conversations. They'll need time to absorb things and think about what's best for them. Being impatient or frustrated about not making a decision right away will only hamper the chances of future discussions being productive. They might also be facing cognitive challenges that cause them to be confused, forgetful, or indecisive. Let the decision-making happen at their pace, so they feel in control throughout the process.
7. Show empathy for their situation
During hard conversations, it always helps to imagine yourself in the other person’s position. How would you feel if you were starting to lose your independence and needed help with ADLs? Show empathy during this time as you discover ways that they can help to maintain a good quality of life, and let them know that you're always in their corner.
Once your older relative is ready to transition into Assisted Living, there will be lots of preparation ahead to prepare for the move. For example, they might have decades of possessions that need to be donated, sold, given away, or disposed of in their home. Allow them to be as involved as possible in deciding what to do with these items. This will help them to maintain a sense of control and make the transition easier for everyone involved.
No-cost Help Finding Quality Senior Living Communities in Northeast Florida
When it's time to have a conversation about Assisted Living in Northeast Florida with an older loved one, you'll need as much information as possible at your disposal so your family can make an informed decision.
Brian Sheridan of Assisted Living Locators can help. Brian and his team will take the time to get to know your loved one's needs and wishes and present a list of best-fit communities where your loved one will thrive.