How to Talk to Your Parent or Loved One About Assisted Living

A senior woman enjoys a day outside with her dogIt’s not a conversation any of us wants to have. But sometimes it’s simply a discussion we need to have with our loved ones. Of course, it’s natural to want to avoid talking about things that make us feel uncomfortable. To wish things could just go back to the way they were. But the reality of the situation is that talking to your parents about assisted living can be the beginning of a new relationship with the people you hold dear.

In this post we’ll share our suggestions for talking to your parent or aging loved one about moving to an assisted living community. You’ll learn helpful things to say, do and to avoid during this delicate, highly sensitive time.

Talking About Assisted Living: 5 Do’s and Don’ts

1. Do Understand the Various Senior Housing Options

Before you sit down with your parents or loved one, take the necessary time to learn about the different senior housing options available. To help you get started, here is a brief summary of the most common options:

  • Independent Living. An independent living community is ideal for people who, for the most part, can still live independently but could potentially benefit from a little bit of assistance when necessary.
  • Assisted Living. An assisted living community is an ideal solution for older adults who can no longer perform several of the activities of daily living or who have long-term healthcare needs they can no longer manage on their own.
  • Memory Support. In a memory support community, your loved one will benefit from a comprehensive care plan specially designed to help people struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

2. Don’t Expect a Resolution Right Away

Like any big decision, moving to an assisted living community is not something anyone takes lightly. Don’t think of this as a single conversation, but rather, a series of conversations in which you and your parents are active participants. By setting realistic expectations for your discussion, you’ll remove some of the pressure to figure everything out in one sitting.   

3. Do Make Your Loved Ones Part of the Decision-Making Process

It’s common for some seniors to feel like they’re giving up their freedom by moving to an assisted living community, when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. As long as your loved ones are still physically able to join you, invite them to accompany you on community tours and explore community websites together.

4. Don’t Use Negative Language or Tone

You’ve heard that old saying: it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Except, in this case, it’s actually a little bit of both. Phrases like “senior living facility” or “retirement home” can have negative connotations and can immediately put your loved one on the defense. Instead, consider using “community” in place of “facility” and “apartment” or “condo” instead of “room.”

5. Do Talk to Siblings First

We all want what’s best for our parents, but sometimes we have different ideas of what exactly that entails. This is precisely why it’s a great idea to talk to your siblings beforehand to make sure there is alignment on the appropriate course of action. If you find that a strong difference of opinion is preventing a meaningful conversation with your siblings, consider a third party, like a social worker, for an unbiased point of view to help resolve the conflict.

After Your Talk, Come Join Us for a Tour

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a physical tour of an assisted living community is worth infinitely more than that. When your loved one is ready, we invite you to visit us in person, meet with our team and get acquainted with our residents. Before your visit, be sure to download our free guide, “5 Signs of Stellar Assisted Living.” For more information, contact us today, or find a Senior Star location near you.