Talking to your parents about moving to assisted living can seem overwhelming. The conversation, often involving siblings and other family members, can inspire a whirlwind of emotions and be difficult to broach. This article is meant to help alleviate any fear you may have and plan for an effective discussion to decide what is best for your senior loved one. This conversation is so challenging because no one wants to consider their own aging, their loss of mobility, their failing memory – it is a key point in life from which there is no return. If you feel it may be time to speak with your loved ones regarding the assisted living decision, these tips should help you to speak lovingly and clearly with your family.
- Prepare for the conversation, and don’t put it off. Those people preparing to have this conversation are often plagued with anxiety about how their aging loved one will react to the idea. They don’t want to trigger any anger or defensiveness and may be fearful enough to avoid the conversation. But every day that passes represents more time that essential physical, mental and emotional needs may go unmet. It only maximizes the likelihood of having to make an assisted living decision when an emergency arises instead of deciding with a clear head and logic. you can prepare for this conversation by considering topics such as:
- Define assisted living and dispel myths
- Describe the amenities, maintenance-free lifestyle, and peace of mind provided
- Be ready with a pre-vetted list of nearby assisted living facilities
- Assure them of your commitment to helping every step of the way
- Include the family in the conversation. Enter into this conversation with the understanding that there is not one comprehensive solution that is perfect for everyone. Different people will have various opinions about what is the best strategy, how family members can constructively contribute to the conversation, and what options are most suitable for your loved one and your family. Each family member’s opinions should be listened to and considered during your conversation on assisted living. It’s possible that some family members will hold different beliefs about what the care level requires, and current caregivers may even feel resentment. If the conversation reaches a point where no decisions are being made due to disagreement, your senior’s medical team may bring clarity to the discussion.
- Establish an atmosphere of non-judgment. When seniors are faced with giving up their longtime home or losing their independence, it can inspire a lot of emotions. Allow your loved one to experience and express what they are feeling without judgment. What you may consider being a practical and necessary move is upending their entire life. Have patience and understanding. Remember to allow them to participate in the decisions if possible, and listen carefully to their concerns.
- Include compassion, laughter, and empathy in the conversation. This conversation may be heavy and inspire some sadness and nostalgia – so be sure to inject levity and laughter if possible, as well as compassion for what your loved one is feeling.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for support and resources. In order to make the best decisions during this conversation, do some research about senior living homes and caregiving options prior to sitting down. Visit and tour potential assisted living communities to get a better sense of the residence and the amenities. Have a conversation with administrators and staff to answer any of your questions.
A Banyan Residence is an assisted living facility located in Venice, Florida. If you have any questions, we are here to help.