Is it time to speak with a loved one about assisted living options, but you aren’t sure where to start? Talking about assisted living options can be stressful for everyone. Seniors often feel like each conversation about their living options is one in which they are being forced to make a decision that is against their interests.
However, having regular conversations, practicing empathy, exploring options together, and identifying concerns can help you and your loved ones make these decisions together.
Have regular conversations. As your loved ones age, it’s important to have conversations about their living arrangements and care at regular intervals. Broaching the subject all at once and demanding a decision about assisted living care over the course of a single conversation is unrealistic, and can seem antagonistic. The decision to move to assisted living care should feel like a joint decision, not a decision thrust upon them.
Practice empathy. Understand why your loved one may want to stay at home. Fear of the unknown, nostalgia for a place they have lived in for decades, or worry about losing touch with local friends and family, are all understandable concerns that should be discussed and worked out with patience. Try to highlight the positives of assisted living facilities, such as more social interaction, community events, reduced maintenance, and on-call assistance in case help is needed.
Offer options. Research the types of senior assisted living options in your area and discuss with your loved one which may be right for them. Whenever possible, take tours of the facilities together. At no point should your loved one feel that this is a decision you are making without them. They must be part of the process of transitioning to an assisted living community.
Identify health and safety concerns. Many seniors are worried about overburdening their adult children or spouses with their needs and issues. Unfortunately, this can lead to some unsafe situations that you may not even be aware of. As part of your regular conversations about the future, ask about their health and safety concerns. If your loved one has been diagnosed with a condition such as Parkinson’s or dementia, they will want to learn more about facilities which can meet both their current and their future needs, such as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).
However comfortable your loved one is in their current living situation, beginning the conversation about assisted living options today can save you both many difficult conversations in the future.