Discussing senior living options with an aging parent or loved one can be challenging for adult children.
While this conversation may be tough no matter what, we have some tips to help you prepare yourself and ease into the discussion.
Remember that sooner is better: Bringing up the topic months before the potential move offers opportunities for parents to be involved in the decision-making.
Read on for our tips to approaching this delicate subject with understanding and compassion.
How to discuss senior living communities with an elderly parent or loved one
Some older adults may be excited about the opportunity to move into a senior living community, but you’ll find that it’s more common for aging loved ones to meet the topic with hesitation, sadness, or even anger.
First, try to understand that these emotions are coming from a place of fear or uncertainty. This will help you approach the discussions with compassion and kindness, rather than irritation.
You may feel that assisted living is the best option for your elderly loved one, while they fear a loss of independence, and perhaps the loss of a beloved family home.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the following tips for how to prepare for the discussion in a way that puts your loved one’s mind at ease.
Do your research
Before you even broach the topic of assisted living with your loved ones, perform some initial research.
First, determine the level of care your loved one may need. You can evaluate their care and physical health needs based on the activities of daily living (ADLs).
Basic ADLs include the following:
- Bathing, showering, or other personal care
- Getting in and out of bed
- Using the toilet
If your loved ones have trouble performing any of these routine activities on their own, it can lead to unsafe conditions or poor quality of life.
Once you identify their areas of struggle, you can research which types of care they may need. Determine whether any at-home care or family caregiving is suitable for the time being, or whether an assisted living community would be most beneficial.
All of these determinations are part of your loved one’s care plan. Discuss the care plan with all those who are involved in their lives, including siblings and other close family members. Show them how assisted living might be the healthiest option for your aging parent or loved one.
Begin discussions before a health crisis hits
Often, we don’t take action on our aging parents’ or loved one’s health and well-being until something happens, whether it be a fall or another health incident.
To ensure this isn’t the case for your elderly family members, start the discussions about their care plan with them before anything urgent happens.
Discuss their options with a medical professional, such as a geriatric care manager or doctor, who can offer advice that’s specific to your loved one’s needs, and separate from decisions based solely on opinion or emotions.
Starting discussions early has multiple benefits:
- You can ease into the discussions gradually
- You can involve your elderly parent or loved one in the decision-making
- You have adequate time to address their pain points so they can understand your perspective
Most importantly, you can help them avoid any preventable health issues or injuries from occurring by ensuring they are set up in a community that provides everything they need.
The Kensington Falls Church is an enhanced assisted living residence (EALR) that offers a full spectrum of clinical support. Each new resident is evaluated by onsite medical professionals to ensure they are receiving the exact care they need.
It’s important to be proactive in finding a residence that will be a good fit before a severe event compels the urgency to seek a higher level of care.
Listen to and understand their concerns
Once you have an idea of the level of care your loved one needs, and the types of care they should receive, you can lightly begin the conversations.
The discussion will quickly be shut down if you forcefully voice your opinions, attempt to scare your loved one with “what-ifs,” or don’t allow them a voice in the matter.
Instead, ask them questions about their future plans or their biggest daily struggles.
In taking this approach, you can uncover your loved one’s concerns and address them with what you’ve discovered in your research.
Don’t come on too strong at first. If you mention in-home care or assisted living and your loved one instantly becomes defensive or frustrated, don’t press the issue. If they are open to it, you can ask more questions about why it makes them feel upset or emotional.
Put yourself in your loved one’s shoes: How would it feel if someone suggested to you that you move out of a home you love and into an unfamiliar community?
Over time, if you present your research casually as a response to their biggest pain points, they will likely find it easier to come to terms with your ideas.
Keep them involved throughout the process
As your loved one becomes more used to the idea of assisted living communities, keep them involved in the process to ensure they are as comfortable as possible.
Invite them to go on tours with you or to sit in on phone calls. Ask them what questions they would like to ask the communities you’re researching.
Show them photographs and compare amenities at each location.
Involvement in the research and decision-making will help your loved one feel much more open to moving, and more in control of their future needs.
How do I prepare my loved ones or parents for assisted living?
You can prepare your loved ones or parents for moving to an assisted living community by remaining as transparent, open, and honest as possible.
Allow them to have as big of a role in the process as they would like, and get the whole family involved in the conversations to make the move feel normal and comfortable.
Above all else, make sure your loved ones or parents understand that assisted living communities are not a nursing home, and they do not take away any of their independence.
In fact, the right community will allow them to truly flourish and offer more independence by catering to their unique interests, preferences, and routines.
The Kensington Falls Church is your partner in care
When your loved one is moving to The Kensington Falls Church, you can rest assured that you are not in this alone.
Lean on our loving team for support as you and aging family members make the challenging transition to assisted living.
The Kensington team understands how difficult moving out of a beloved home can be, but we also want to emphasize all the precious moments that are to come in our community.
At The Kensington Falls Church, Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. We cherish the fact that every single day, we get the chance to contribute care, attention, and friendship to our residents. No need is too great or too small.
We are a leading assisted and memory care community that goes above and beyond what other traditional senior living communities can offer.
We provide the following services and activities:
- A full calendar of life enrichment activities and events
- Professional dining services with complimentary meals for friends and family members
- Onsite rehabilitation and wellness programs
- Medication management
- Community resources, including Caregiver Connect for family caregivers
- Licensed nurses onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Individualized care plans
If you’re ready to take the next steps in your care journey, reach out to our team today. If you’re looking for additional support we are here for you. Join our monthly caregiver support group series with Dr. Anya Parpura, an expert in aging and dementia.
Each month, we host an interactive group discussion designed to help you understand and deal with both sides of caregiving, providing it and receiving it.
We’ll stand by your side as both you and your family members’ transition to assisted living, and ensure everyone is as comfortable and happy as possible. We offer the opportunity to join in on an activity or community event to get the feel of our neighborhoods and residents, making you feel more at ease about their transition.
Feel free to also check out our suite styles and floor plans, with options for private or companion living.