How Do I Discuss Assisted Living with my Parents?

How do you talk to your aging parents about getting some help and making a move? It’s not an easy conversation to have but going about it the right way can add LIFE to to their YEARS.

How do you talk to your aging parents about getting some help and making a move? What’s the best approach to encourage them to tour a few retirement communities? It’s not an easy conversation to have — but going about it the right way can help them live more safely and add LIFE to their YEARS.

These four simple tips may help when you need to talk to an aging parent about senior living, senior care, and the way forward for your family.

Four Simple Tips To Discuss Senior Living With Your Parents

1) The Conversation: Prepare!

Do your homework. Before the conversation about senior living, prepare yourself with the informational resources you will need to fire back at their worries and resistance. Consider the following: 

  • Make a list of your concerns. Are you worried, maybe, that their home is no longer a safe place for them? Are there too many steps and stairs? Are they having some health problems? Have you noticed they’re slowing down on important daily things, such as dressing, cleaning, bathing or managing their medications? Take a peek in their fridge for expired foods! You may want to consider your concerns with other family members to get their perspectives as well. Please take note of all of the things you notice and write them down.
  • Inform yourself. As you learn more about retirement communities and senior living options such as assisted living, you’ll better understand what will best fit their needs. Acknowledging how much help your loved one needs is not easy, and you might find yourself downplaying just how serious their need for assistance is. Try to be as objective as you can. 
  • Learn how critical their living situation is for seniors. Where you live matters when it comes to aging in a great environment — meaning location and ambiance affect everything from physical safety to mental health to longevity. The more you learn about this, the better prepared you’ll be! Contact our Lifestyle Marketing Professional to learn more.

Exploring the options and learning more about successful aging can give you the confidence and credibility you need to begin this conversation. You are preparing yourself to be as helpful as possible for the discussion and decisions ahead. The Manor Village Life Centers are here to support you if you need them.

2) Having Better Conversation About Senior Care

Once you learn more and feel you can confidently explain their options, following these tips and strategies can help you have a productive conversation:

Have the conversation as early as possible. Don’t wait for a health crisis to occur; tackling this difficult decision early can help all of you reach a conclusion and start planning with much less pressure.

Talk in person, if you can. If you can be together to have a face-to-face conversation, great. If not, set up a video call so you can at least see each other during the conversation. Try to arrange a time when you and your parent, or parents, are well-rested and relaxed. Block out a time and a location where you can talk or walk without interruption.

Listen! Your loved one is probably anxious (and so are you) with concerns and objections about moving from their home and into a retirement community. Don’t diminish those feelings. It’s important to recognize them and continue to ask questions so you can better understand their doubts. This makes it clear that you respect their wishes and personal goals.

Empathy, not sympathy. No older adult wants their adult child to feel sorry for them. But understanding is another matter. Your kind, calm voice and attitude will show you care — and that you’re trying to understand the worries and frustrations they may be feeling. The idea of moving to assisted living is tough for many but exciting for many too! They might be silently hoping you would bring it up first.

Don’t rush. Once you have enough knowledge, you may feel ready to make a decision. Your loved ones might feel they need more time. Allow them the time they need to find the words to express how they’re feeling.

Coming to an unpressured mutual agreement will continue to pay dividends as you move forward together while the decision is still theirs.

Set a date to revisit the talk. …and maybe again! As much as you might want to wrap things up in one conversation, the reality is this is a journey. Unless your aging family member is in urgent need of moving, it’s important to include them in this conversation.

Book a TOUR! Whether in-person or virtual, one of the best ways to alleviate worries about moving is to show your loved one what a community is actually like. This lets them get an idea of the lifestyle, amenities, culture, type of neighbours, private care services and hands-on specialists they’re going to benefit from. 

It’s their decision. Unless your elderly parents are mentally incapacitated, they get to decide. You are responsible for letting them know about your concerns, but the ultimate decision belongs to them.

"Coming to an unpressured mutual agreement will continue to pay dividends as you move forward together while the decision is still theirs."

3) Conversation Starters

Starting the conversation can be the most challenging part; these starters may help:

  • How is it living at home? Do you still feel safe? (Safety concerns such as managing medications, falling with stairs, struggles in the bathtub or kitchen)
  • Do you have a plan for long-term care? For example, if you fell or got sick and couldn’t take care of yourself at home, where would you go? How would you pay for it?
  • Do you sometimes feel lonely? Would you like to spend more time with people with similar interests?
  • Would you like the idea of safer transportation options? Therefore, you don’t have to worry about car maintenance costs, traffic, parking, etc.?
  • Is it overwhelming maintaining your finances and keeping up with paying your bills?
  • Ever wonder about getting a helping hand with housekeeping and laundry?
  • Would you feel less stressed if you didn’t have to worry about the house?

Sit back and really listen to their answers.

(Are you worried about your parents’ finances? Here are some warning signs to notice)


4) Seek Support, Not Information Overload

Sharing a little basic information upfront can be helpful but overloading the conversation with research and statistics is overwhelming. 

What’s worse, when people feel overwhelmed, they can get defensive. Let our Lifestyle Marketing Professional do some work for you; the important piece is booking a tour and having them come in to see for themselves.

Article by:

The Manor Villages StayWell Manor a retirement community located in Calgary, Alberta.
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