6 Tips for Talking about Assisted Living with a Senior

July 9, 2018

6 tips for talking about assisted living

If you’ve been putting it off or if the conversation is one you will soon need to have, here are 6 tips for talking about Assisted Living from Legacy Senior Living.

Talking with a parent about moving to assisted living isn’t always easy. In fact, adult children who call our Legacy Senior Living communities often say that the very idea of initiating this conversation with an aging parent makes them uncomfortable. Some put it off until a medical emergency or other crisis occurs. The senior’s family is then forced to make a quick decision in the midst of an already-stressful time.

To help ensure your parent has time to make an informed choice, it’s best to plan ahead.

Tips for Talking about Assisted Living

To help lay the groundwork for an eventual move, it may help to begin to slowly introduce the many benefits of assisted living communities. From support with daily routines to housekeeping and maintenance, an assisted living community frees seniors from the burdens of home ownership.

An assisted living community also offers a wide variety of life enrichment, wellness, and social activities. This connection helps seniors live a more active and vibrant life at every age.

Some additional tips for talking about assisted living with your senior loved one include:

  • Introducing the topic in indirect ways: Think about how you can broach the subject of assisted living in more indirect ways. Has your senior loved one recently had a friend move to a senior living community? Ask how they are doing and mention that you’d like to visit them. Is there an event coming up at an assisted living community near you? Suggest you both attend together. Ensuring your family member sees an assisted living community in person can help overcome any myths and stigmas they may have about senior living communities.
  • Being mindful of your language: Avoid using phrases that can appear to be too bossy or forceful, such as “you need to,” or “you have to.” Instead, adopt a softer approach. Ask open-ended questions to gauge how your loved one is feeling and what their concerns and fears about this type of change might be. It will help them to feel more in control of the process and their future, and will allow you to better understand their point of view.
  • Sharing your fears and hopes: Share the worries you have about your loved one’s health and safety in a kind, respectful way. It might be a concern they will fall and not be able to call for help, or that their home will be targeted by criminals who recognize a senior lives there alone. Also share how you think assisted living will benefit them, such as a safe environment and the wide variety of life enrichment activities that are available. Let them know your hope is for them to live their highest quality of life and that you believe an assisted living community is the best way to do that.

What to Do If You Encounter Resistance

Be prepared to encounter resistance, at least early on. Remember, just because you are ready for your loved one to make this move doesn’t mean they are. Tread lightly so you don’t put your senior loved one on the defensive. Even though their health may be declining, they still need to feel they are in control of their own life.

Here are a few more tips for talking about assisted living in the face of resistance:

  • Respect their feelings: If your loved one is resisting, it might be necessary to drop the subject for a while. Continuing to push them may cause them to dig in and refuse to move. Unless you are fearful for their safety, put the topic on the back burner for a few weeks.
  • Bring in backup: Is there someone in your family or one of your loved one’s medical professionals who they respect and look up to? Enlisting their help in this discussion might be another option. It might be their primary care physician who knows their health is declining or a pastor who understands the benefits offered by assisted living communities. Think about who has influence and would be willing to assist.
  • Encourage a tour: Ask your senior loved one to consider taking a tour of at least one or two assisted living communities. Agree they are under no obligation to move, but are touring just to learn more about all of the benefits. It might help if you visit communities ahead of time to screen out those that aren’t likely to be a good fit. Then choose two you think might best meet your loved one’s needs and bring them for a visit.

Legacy Senior Living communities welcome visitors for tours and lunch every day! One of our experienced team members will be happy to answer all of your questions about assisted living and show you firsthand how passionate we are about delivering quality care, exceptional service, professional support, and compassionate friendship to our residents and their family members. Call us today to set up a private visit.