Assisted Living

1/20/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

At some point, it may become apparent to an adult child that a parent or parents should be moving to an assisted living community. The signs might be obvious: declining health, falls, no family members in the area, or difficulty managing the activities of daily living (ADLs): cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene, and moving about.

Although they know the conversation with a parent is necessary, children often hesitate to raise the subject of assisted living with them. Some might be aware that their parents have a strong wish to age in place. Others are afraid of upsetting parents who see assisted living as that “nursing home” where you go to die.

As a result, adult children often put off these conversations until their parent’s health has deteriorated to where there are no more options, and the children are now under pressure to find a facility quickly. To avoid this scenario, have this talk long before it turns into a hurried scramble to get your parents the assistance they require. Here are seven suggestions on how to talk to your parents about assisted living.

1. Research the housing options before you talk to your parents about assisted living

Become familiar with the various types of senior living settings and the amount of care they offer. Senior housing often differs from state to state, so research the options in the state where your parents want to live. Depending on the state, they might call an assisted living facility a residential care facility for the elderly. In addition to terminology, the costs can also vary widely in some states.

2. Look for an opportunity to start the conversation

Plant some seeds after a parent has complained about the difficulty of completing routine tasks or recovering from an injury. Explain how assisted living could be providing the help they need with those tasks and might prevent future injuries. Let them know that you are merely looking to start a discussion and that no decision needs to be made immediately.

3. Be careful in choosing your words

Talk about assisted living as a “community” rather than a “facility.” And “retirement-style living” sounds much more appealing than “nursing home.” Stay positive and calm. Avoid a threatening or condescending tone. Remember, these are your parents, and they deserve your respect, even if the discussion turns contentious.

4. Get your siblings involved

Solicit your siblings’ opinion on assisted living before you talk to your parents about assisted living. Then, decide when you want to talk to your parents about the next step. You might want to speak to them alone at first to avoid them becoming defensive. As the need becomes more urgent, a group meeting might be in order.

5. Visit some assisted living facilities with your parents

Senior living facilities are happy to help you assess your parents’ needs. And a tour of the facility will help ease some of their fears when they see the environment in which they’ll be living and the variety of activities available for them. A tour also benefits from making them feel as if they are part of the decision-making process.

6. Find out what they will miss about home, and try to assuage their concerns

Lots of thoughts will go through your parents’ minds at this time, including that they won’t see you or their grandchildren as often as they had. Or maybe they fear having to give up all of their favorite possessions or a pet they’ve had for several years. Let them know that nothing will change in the amount of time they spend with their loved ones. Assure them that the community people will help them decide what to bring along. And if the community does not allow pets, let them know you’ll find the right home for a beloved pet.

7. Review their finances with them

You may not know anything about your parent’s finances, but now it’s essential to find out. Your parents may come from a typically tight-lipped generation about their financial situation, so you’ll have to broach this topic cautiously. Consulting with a Senior Living Placement Specialist can help you and your parents to thoroughly understand the costs and services available in the communities.

Your parents may be assuming that assisted living is too expensive and will quickly exhaust their savings. By reviewing everything that comes in the assisted living package – and what they must pay separately – they will have an accurate picture of the financial aspect of assisted living and are more likely to move ahead confidently.

Even though these seven tips will help you talk to your parents about assisted living with more confidence, the discussion about senior living will never be easy. Stay positive and assure your parents that you are having this conversation with them because you love them very much.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff