It’s a challenge to think about moving your parent or loved one from their home to an assisted living community, even though it might be the best decision for them. Ultimately it is their decision, so if they are feeling unsure, overwhelmed, or threatened by the thought of a move that you feel is in their best interest, it will take a lot of love and understanding to help them develop the same comfort in the decision that you have. Here are some things you can do to help your loved one embrace the decision to move:
Although it’s a difficult conversation to have, don’t put it off. The earlier you’re able to have these conversations with your loved ones, the better the eventual outcome will be. Additionally, starting the conversation earlier, you will give the choice an opportunity to grow on them. Use that time to break down the bigger decision – to move into assisted living – into the smaller component parts. Discuss location, size and campus feel. Rather than asking if they think they should move to an assisted living community talk about what location would be best to suit their lifestyle, or would they prefer modern or homey, large or small, should it have a campus feel with an abundance of green space, or is proximity to a town or city center more important. This approach will help you be sure that all their needs will be met while helping them maintain a sense of autonomy.
Most seniors will want to stay in their homes as long as they can, and that’s something we can all understand. For many parents, their home is likely filled with memories of the lives they and their children have lived. So when you’re asking them to leave it, remember how difficult it must be for them, and don’t blame them if they show resistance.
Before approaching your loved one, make sure you’ve done all your research and communicated to everyone involved so that everyone is on the same page. This includes siblings, other family members, and medical professionals. Being prepared for the conversation with information regarding the different options for assisted living facilities will allow you to address misconceptions and make the discussion easier.
Your loved one might not immediately accept the idea, and that’s okay. Maybe you asked them to tour some senior living communities and they said no. Don’t push them, and instead give them some space before trying again another day.
Remember that your parent’s health and safety always come first. Make it clear to your loved ones that you are doing this because you want them to be safe and happy, and not for any other reason. If your parent has recently experienced a health or safety risk (falls, electrical or plumbing problems, etc.), you can use this to show them the need for assisted living.
No one enjoys being told what to do without getting a choice in the matter. If possible, ask your loved one to be involved with this decision. Maybe they would like to tour an assisted living home a friend is in, or perhaps they would like to tour different types of assisted living communities to understand their preferences better. Do your best to give your parents a say in their life while still leading them to the better option an assisting living facility can be.
Helping a senior loved one find their own assisted living home can be a difficult challenge and often a long, drawn-out process. Since it’s such an important life decision, you want to be sure every option has been explored and considered. Make sure that you are there for your loved ones every step of the way. The transition is always difficult, but once it’s over, they will likely be able to settle in to a safer, more enjoyable lifestyle.