The Tough Conversation of Moving to Assisted Living
You may worry that the initial discussion of moving to assisted living won’t go smoothly, however, you want the best possible outcome for your loved one’s care.
The uncertainty surrounding how to address a difficult conversation with your loved one can sometimes be worse than the actual conversation you need to have.
Here’s how to best guide the conversation, including how to start the conversation, when to initiate it, and how to have an open and honest conversation about the options assisted living can provide.
How to Start the Conversation
Initiating a challenging conversation such as this can feel awkward and uncomfortable. You may worry that addressing care needs will upset your loved one, possibly leading to disagreements or uncertainties about how to make a decision and move forward. But starting the conversation can help your loved one and you open up about needs.
Don’t Make Assumptions Before Speaking with Your Loved One
You may fear initiating the conversation because you don’t want to cause them to think about something difficult, such as a decline in health and independence. You may feel guilty for not being able to provide all the care they need on your own.
On the other hand, you may assume you know what they want in their future care, but you can’t know for sure without discussing it directly with them.
In many cases, seniors have thought about their potential long-term health needs. Once they are given an opportunity to discuss it with someone they trust, they will feel relieved to open up, address their concerns, and share their wishes.
How to Frame the Conversation
To begin the conversation, think of it as another step in your loved one’s care. Consider it as part of any good medical-care plan, similar to making sure they get to and from doctor’s appointments.
You don’t have to solve every question or problem immediately, just start the conversation to gauge their thoughts on expectations, finances, and who they trust most to help them make decisions. When initiating the discussion, it’s important to listen to what they want.
From there you can build a plan based on what you know they need. If compromises need to be made, you can address them directly based on this format for an open and honest discussion.
Initiate the Conversation Sooner Rather Than Later
If a loved one is facing the early stages of an illness, it’s important to both determine that the underlying health issues are not reversible and what types of ongoing care will be needed. It is especially important for people who are in the early stages of memory loss to discuss resources that offer a full-spectrum of care.
Other timely issues may accelerate the need for assisted living services as well. For example, with winter approaching, colder weather will present challenges for caregivers supplementing care for loved ones at home. Traveling to and from errands or doctor’s appointments presents fall risks to seniors.
More time stuck in the house can also lead to a lower quality of life for your loved one, especially if the home isn’t optimized for their safety and care. During the coronavirus pandemic, it is especially important to prevent accidents, injuries, or illness to keep your loved one’s strength up and avoid unexpected hospital visits or stays.
With the winter months also comes flu season. This is of particular concern this year because of the additional risks associated with contracting coronavirus.
Snow and ice can make it difficult for a caregiver who lives any distance from their loved one. Dangerous weather can halt travel, leading to uncertainties around who can run errands, take them safely to and from appointments, shovel their snow, and so on.
Bringing these concerns to your loved one will help them see that you have their best interest in mind, not only for their health, but also their safety and lifestyle.
Discuss the Solutions Provided by Assisted Living
Just as you don’t want to make assumptions about your loved one’s wishes, you’ll need to do your research to avoid making assumptions about the types of care available.
Learn the many benefits of assisted living and help your loved one analyze the options. They may be unaware of the quality of life that assisted living can provide.
Benefits of Moving to Assisted Living
There are many unique benefits to moving to an assisted living community that offers a full-spectrum of care, such as The Kensington Falls Church.
In this environment, residents have more protections and precautions in place to give them safer and higher levels of care than at home. This is especially true if care needs change rapidly, as assisted living can fluidly accommodate care needs in a way that just isn’t possible in a home environment.
The benefits of full-service assisted living include the following:
- Medical professionals available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Medication and diabetes management
- Access to physical, occupational, and speech rehabilitation therapy
- Fitness center and guided exercises
- Regular ongoing health and wellness assessments
- Individualized care plans, tailored to personal wants and physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual needs
- Accomodation of special dietary needs along with all-day restaurant-style dining
Taking the time to have these difficult conversations will benefit your loved one and your family in the long run. Evaluating their care needs early on can help to avoid an emergency hospital stay or move to assisted living. This proactive approach may be what’s needed to optimize your loved one’s well being.
The Kensington Difference
At The Kensington Falls Church, our community offers beautiful surroundings that look and feel like home. Beyond your loved ones health, we provide services to pamper and enrich their daily lives, such as a concierge service, full-service salon, lush outdoor terraces and patios, and transportation. Our Life Enrichment programs work to fuel their mental, emotional, social, and spiritual interests, all within a safe environment that also provides thorough medical assessments, monitoring, and treatments.
At The Kensington, our enhanced wellness program and care model enables residents to “age in place.” That means they do not need to move out of The Kensington if their assisted living health care needs change or increase, providing certainty even as their health and the world around them changes.
To learn more about how we can help with your loved one’s transition to senior living, call us today. We want your loved one and your family to feel comfortable and confident in moving to assisted living.