As our parents age, their needs may change, and the topic of senior living or assisted living may become a common conversation. However, starting this conversation can often be challenging and emotionally demanding, leading to frustration and confusion.
When talking to your aging parents about assisted living, it’s important to approach the topic with empathy, understanding, compassion, and respect. It’s essential to understand their perspective, consider their feelings, and educate yourself and them about the options available. You stand the best chance of starting a productive conversation by communicating your desire for them to receive the care they need.
Understand Your Parents’ Perspective
Making a big decision, like completely uprooting your life to move to an assisted living community, can be complex and challenging for everyone involved. Begin by acknowledging your parents’ independence and explain you understand their desire for autonomy.
Focus on upselling the benefits of assisted living. These communities exist for those who need some help with their day-to-day needs but focus on creating a warm, welcoming, supportive, and enjoyable environment. They’re wonderful options for those who want to enjoy the freedom they’ve earned in their golden years without worrying about tedious household tasks like laundry or dusting. They’re residential-style communities designed to promote a person’s well-being in every way possible.
Addressing your parents’ concerns and showing they’ll still have control over their day-to-day lives can help alleviate their worries about making such a significant change.
Research the Options
Make sure you go into this conversation prepared. Begin by researching your area’s different assisted living options and getting an idea of their differences. Everyone has unique needs as they age, so knowing what each community offers and the programs and services available can help frame the community specifically for your parents, helping you address specific concerns and offer alternatives and solutions for your parents.
Prepare & Plan Appropriately
This discussion can be challenging for all parties. High emotions can lead to the refusal or rejection of your ideas, so choose an appropriate time and place in a comfortable setting where you and your parents can talk openly and without distractions. By choosing an environment where they’re comfortable and feel safe discussing their emotions, they’re much more likely to be open to your thoughts.
Try using “I” statements to convey your feelings and worries. Don’t say things like “You need to move to senior care,” as this can seem like you’re belittling them or putting their feelings aside. Try saying something like, “I feel like you need more care than I can give,” to show your care and support them. By communicating openly, honestly and compassionately, you can explain that you only want what’s best for them.
Collaborate Together for a Solution
Offer choices and involve your parents in every step of the decision-making process. Try framing the conversation in a way that allows them to maintain control over the next stage of their lives. If they refuse to accept the idea of moving to a senior living community, alternative options exist, like in-home care.
It may help to highlight the benefits assisted living communities offer, such as:
- Professional care
- Social opportunities
- Interesting programs and services
- A supportive community
- Meal plans
- A high level of independence
Finances are often one of the biggest concerns. Discuss this topic early in the conversation to determine whether or not it’s financially feasible to seek care. Determining how this would be financially handled can alleviate a lot of stress and help narrow down your options.
Offer Your Support
Approaching this topic requires empathy, understanding, and collaboration. By recognizing your parents’ perspectives, planning appropriately, and working together, you can communicate how much you care for your parents. Tell them you only want what’s best for them and that you want them to receive the care they need and deserve, and they’re much more likely to be receptive to your thoughts.
At Crescent Fields at Huntingdon Valley, we understand that the decision to move to assisted living is big. We believe that every one of our residents deserves a high level of care, and we offer all kinds of programs and amenities so they can maintain a high quality of life. To learn about our available options for assisted living, schedule a tour today.