Asking an aging parent to consider moving into an assisted living community is one of the most difficult things family caregivers may have to do. But if your senior loved one needs help with everyday activities like showering, dressing and preparing meals, or if you are concerned for their safety at home, it may be time to start the conversation
Discussing a move to an assisted living community is not without challenges. Many older adults feel they are capable of caring for themselves and may refuse to discuss the matter. Others know that they need assistance, but resist leaving their home for fear of losing independence.
Here’s how to make this discussion easier:
Do your homework first. Locate assisted living communities in your area. Michigan, Ohio and Indiana are home to some very high quality assisted living communities. Start your research online and then call to schedule personal visits to learn more about services and costs. Evaluate your aging parent’s options by using The Assisted Living Federation of America’s Guide to Choosing an Assisted Living Community checklists. When you begin talking with your senior loved one, you will be prepared to answer questions and concerns.
Use a loving approach. Let your senor loved one know that you think assisted living will help them better enjoy their retirement years. At the same time, it will lift a lot of worry about their safety and well-being from your shoulders. Assure them that you think an assisted living community is a good choice. Remind your aging loved one that you love them and want to protect them from the dangers of living alone, like falls and medication mishaps.
Let your loved one do the talking—and listen to them. Encourage your older parent to share their concerns and express their opinions about assisted living. If they resist your attempts to discuss a move to a senior residence, ask them, “What are you concerned about?” “Why don’t you think you’ll like living in an assisted-living community?”
Identifying their thoughts and fears may help you to change their perspective. For instance, If you know that they are wondering what might happen to their belongings, you can assure them that they can take some special items to a new residence. If they are worried that they won’t see their friends and family as often, you’ll be able to discuss finding a new home with 24-hour visitation
Redefine “senior living.” Older adults often confuse assisted living with hospital-like environments where seniors are “placed” or “put away.” Point out that today’s assisted-living residences are much like apartments with meal service and around-the-clock personal care. Make sure your senior loved one understands that assisted living is a residential choice for seniors who are independent but need a bit of help with daily living tasks and errands.
Help them do their own research: Assisted-living communities open their doors to anyone who wants to learn more about how senior care residences can meet their needs. Schedule tours. Have lunch or dinner in the dining room. Your parent can also test drive a community by staying a short time in a respite apartment.
Address their fears. The number one reason seniors resist a move into a senior community is because they fear losing control over their life. Explain that in reality, assisted living can help them maintain independence. Assisted living communities have busy social calendars filled with activities and outings. They offer transportation to shopping and attractions, exercise classes, on-site hair salons and other services. Reassure your aging parent that assisted living can give them the social life they have been missing by being isolated in their home.
Expect to have multiple chats. Making a move from the family home into an assisted-living community is an important and emotional step in your aging parent’s life. Plan to initiate a number of discussions before your senior loved one makes a decision.
To schedule a tour of a Randall Residence assisted-living community in Ohio, Illinois or Michigan, call us at 269-624-4841 or fill our contact form