Talking to Parents About Assisted Living

This is a collaborative post

While it is true that many of us will require some form of care when we get older, talking about moving a parent to an assisted living facility can be incredibly hard. Some may feel you are abandoning them or they have become such a huge burden that you are getting rid of them. The discussion can be hard, but putting it off will only limit the amount of time you have to plan for the move. If you are thinking about talking to your parents about an assisted living arrangement, here are a few tips.

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Bring Up the Topic Early

Getting the time to have the discussion can be one of the hardest things to do. However, talking about it early gives your parents a chance to have some say in the type of facility they would like to move to. Additionally, discussing it early ensures there is no pressure to act one way or the other and gives everyone a chance to make the necessary arrangements.

Discuss the Why

A common reason why some parents might not be open to the idea of moving to an assisted living community is that they do not understand why you may be suggesting it to them. It is therefore important to talk to them about why you think it is time or when you think it would be the right time. For example, if they have been diagnosed with a progressive disease like Alzheimer’s, a certain stage of its progression is a good indicator of when it’s time to consider assisted living. Additional reasons could be a caregiver not being available, increased isolation, unsafe living conditions and more.

Keep the Conversation Going

Moving to an assisted living facility is a huge change for anyone. Because of this, talking about it once might not yield any positive results. It is therefore important to keep the conversation going and bring it up often if you are sure an assisted living facility is the best option.

When having these conversations, it is important to keep your parents involved. No one wants to feel like their life is being shepherded for them. So, let them make the big decisions like whether they would like to tour different facilities with you. Involving your parents in the whole process can make things easier down the road, too.

Use Positive Language and The Right Tone

Although they are called assisted living facilities, some people may see that as too medical or threatening. The better phrase to use would be “assisted living community”. Also, try to highlight the social, physical and mental benefits in a non-threatening way. The tone of your voice can affect how the message is received. So, speak in a calm, pleasant and quiet tone. If there is any anger, do not respond to it. Instead, remain calm and respectful. If your parents do not want to discuss assisted living at that time, schedule it for another time.

Talking to a parent about moving them to an assisted living facility is challenging, especially if this is something you have never talked about before. Tact, understanding and validating their feelings will be important in helping the discussion be more fruitful.

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