When it comes time to talk about assisted living with your aging parents, you may be nervous about approaching the subject at all. It's important to make your parents feel loved and independent during the conversation, and this can be very difficult for even those with great relationships with their parents. These tips will teach your how to talk to seniors about assisted living without harming your relationship. With patience, understanding, and these tips you can approach the assisted transition while maintaining a positive relationship with your parents.
Look into your options, but don't make the decision for your parents.
Choosing a place to live is an important personal decision. Your parents would probably be upset if you bought them a new home in a new neighborhood without their knowledge, regardless of how nice that house may be. The same applies to an assisted living home. You want your parents to retain as much independence as possible, and this includes choosing the best home for themselves.
You can start the search and gather information, but don't make any arrangements without them unless they are impaired by an illness that would prevent them from doing so. This will help them feel included and independent throughout the transition.
Ease into the subject.
Before you talk to your parents about moving into an assisted care home, it's best to test the waters to better understand how they view their current living situation. You can make regular conversation about their home and its upkeep to gauge how well they can currently care for their home. This also allows them to think about how much they can handle before you talk about assisted living.
Validate their independence while explaining your concerns.
Many people get defensive quickly when their children bring up assisted living. Your parents may think that you view them as fragile, irresponsible, or unfit to care for their home. Take the time to explain that while they are independent, they can benefit from having extra help. This is a great time to express the positive aspects of assisted living. Having extra help when needed, living in community with others their age, and having access to specialty events and activities are all important reasons seniors choose assisted living. Be sure to present these positives attributes while you voice your concern for their overall well-being.
Hear their concerns and be ready to address them.
Rather than presenting the matter as something that's already been decided, make sure to include your parents in the decision to transition. Allow the conversation to be two-sided, and make sure you listen carefully to their concerns. Their biggest concern will likely be maintaining their independence. Reassure them that moving into assisted living will help them maintain more independence.
Offer the options you've found, and ask for their opinion.
Once you've approached the subject, you can present the options you've already found and ask for your parents' opinion on them. Take note of what they like about each facility, and write down any questions or concerns they have about each one. You can take these questions directly to the assisted care home before you visit to make sure each is a good fit.
If they are open to the idea, make a plan to visit several assisted living facilities together. Plan to visit only one in a day to give each of you time to think about each option without becoming overwhelmed.
As with most difficult conversations, the most challenging part is starting it. Ease into the talk about assisted living and show extra caring and patience as you face this transition with your parents. Remember to encourage them in making this decision for themselves to maintain their independence even longer. If they don't like the idea at first, give them some space before approaching it again, but don't give up. Sometimes people need time to come around to the idea, but with these tips you will make the talk about assisted living easier on both parties.