When the time comes to talk to your aging parent about moving to an assisted living community, it’s important to be prepared. Many older adults are apprehensive or fearful about the prospect of moving from their long-term home to a new, unfamiliar environment. Before bringing up the conversation, be sure you’re ready to address any questions, fears, and concerns that your parent may have. To help you and your family make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common fears older adults have about assisted living, as well as tips for how you can help your parent overcome them.
Fear #1: Moving will be too difficult
Downsizing can be difficult at any age, but it can be particularly daunting for older adults who have lived in their home for decades. Reassure your parent that you’ll help them throughout the downsizing process and remind them that they don’t need to leave everything behind. Incorporating some of your parent’s favorite photos, artwork and décor into their new living space will help ease the transition and make it feel more like home.
Fear #2: I’ll lose my independence
One of the biggest worries seniors have about assisted living is that they’ll have to give up their independence when they move to the community. Fortunately, this isn’t true. Assisted living is ideal for older adults who are mostly independent but may need a little extra help with time-consuming chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry as well as assistance with personal care needs like dressing, grooming, or managing medications. In assisted living, your parent will actually have more free time and freedom to do what they love most without having to depend on family members for daily support.
Fear #3: I’ll be bored
Some older adults fear that they’ll be bored once they move from their familiar home to assisted living. They might not know that today’s assisted living communities offer a wide array of fun and engaging amenities and activities for residents to enjoy. Reassure your parent that as soon as they join an assisted living community, they will have access to activities and events including classes, clubs, fitness options, and social gatherings, as well as off-site trips to local restaurants and community events. When visiting local assisted living communities, be sure to ask for a copy of their monthly event calendar to see if the activities offered suit your parent’s interests.
Fear #4: I won’t make friends
Many older adults fear that they will have trouble fitting in or making new friends once they move to assisted living. Adjusting to life in an assisted living isn’t always easy; it may take time for your parent to be accustomed to their new routine and meet friends. Encourage your parent to participate in the community’s social events and try new activities. Once they get involved, they’ll find that assisted living makes it very easy to create meaningful relationships with peers who share their interests.
Fear #5: It will cost too much
Some seniors hold the belief that assisted living is an unaffordable option for them. They might be surprised to learn that in most cases, assisted living can cost the same or less than staying at home or hiring full-time home care. It’s important to understand that the costs associated with assisted living encompass not only living and dining expenses, but also the care services and any amenities offered by the community. When you compare the level of safety, comfort, and convenience provided in an assisted living community to the typical home environment, assisted living is often the better deal.