Author: Lane Keating
The time to talk to your loved one about assisted living is long before the need for a higher level of care becomes apparent. Any type of move at any age can be stressful, but a move from a much-loved home packed with a lifetime of memories can be devastating to an elderly person. It’s best to dip your toe into that pond earlier rather than later to not only give the senior time to get accustomed to the idea but also to avoid having to make a rushed decision should a crisis occur. You may find some of the following pointers helpful:
- Know what your options are. The senior housing market can be very confusing. Does your loved one need assisted living, enhanced assisted living, enriched assisted living? What are the differences and, just as important, what are the costs? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, enlist the help of someone who does.
- Have many discussions. This isn’t a one and done type of subject. There’s no need to harp but keep the lines of communication open. Take the time to discuss the many aspects of this type of move - financial, emotional, physical. Reassure them along the way that you value their input and want to honor their wishes. Make sure they know that their voice will be heard, and they will be involved in all decisions.
- Be upbeat and positive. Whether you’re talking about the various assisted living options, what to do about the sale of the house or anything in between, put a good spin on things. The term facility congers up thoughts of an institution. Instead, refer to it as an assisted living community. Emphasize the positive aspects of the assisted living lifestyle - amenities, activities, and socialization. Make sure to speak in a calm and pleasant voice in a comfortable location.
- Honor and respect how they might be feeling. Even if they don’t verbalize it, seniors very often recognize that a move to a senior living community can signal their last residence. Fears of losing their independence concerns over financial issues and the inevitability of death are grim thoughts indeed. Acknowledge them while at the same time reassure your loved one that with meals, laundry, and housekeeping is taken care of, assisted living can afford them the time needed to enjoy family, friends, and hobbies.
Above all, be patient and retain your sense of humor. We all need time to acclimate ourselves to new ideas - especially ones that can change our way of life. If you need help having “the talk” with your loved one, please reach out to me, Lane Keating, at (585) 257-0145. I’d be happy to offer assistance and to hear about your trials and triumphs!