How to Discuss Assisted Living with Your Parents

Many (if not most) seniors are resistant to accepting the fact that they need assistance with daily tasks.  If the time has come for “The Talk” with your parents, consider how you’ll do so.  Before you barge into your parents’ home and demand they start packing up their beloved belongings, you may want to try a gentler approach.

Plan in Advance

An important key that many families overlook is to have the conversation before a crisis arrives.  Broaching the subject before the need is imminent will give your parents time to adjust, as well as be involved in the planning process.  Seniors are much more likely to be receptive to care suggestions when they are physically and mentally healthy.

The transition into an assisted living facility will go much more smoothly when it’s been planned out well in advance.  This may call for an attitude adjustment for the children.  Yes, it’s not only the elderly who are hesitant to accept this new phase of life.  Adult children may have just as much difficulty with the idea, possibly even considering it to be a precursor to nursing home care – or worse.  Make sure you have a positive, upbeat attitude regarding assisted living or your reservations will cloud the conversation.

Use Good Communication

Many children think they need to go to their parents armed with facts and figures, glossy brochures and a mile-long list of assisted living benefits.  The truth is, the most two important things you can bring to the discussion are respect and empathy.  These two qualities will help you stay calm, refrain from arguing, and ask for your parents’ opinions.

A few other tips to keep in mind:

  • Listen to your parents’ concerns and fears – even if you think they are being irrational.  You must allow them the freedom to express themselves.
  • Make sure you include your parent to the extent appropriate for their age and health condition.  If a parent feels they have no say in the matter, it will only make the situation worse.
  • Don’t rush the discussion.  Trying to push your parents into making a decision will make them feel cornered and stressed.  It’s okay to have several short discussions instead of one long one.
  • Be honest.  Don’t try to sugarcoat the situation – your parents will likely see right through it.

Bring Assisted Living to Life

Talking about assisted living facilities will get the ball rolling, but it’s only the beginning.   An essential part of the planning process should include site visits.  Checking out different homes not only gives your parents options, but it also gives them a chance to see what the facilities are actually like.  Assisted living facilities often seems less daunting once parents have all the facts, and have had a chance to see them up close.

Talking to your parents about assisted living isn’t easy, but with these tips, you’ll enjoy a much better conversation.

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