How to Start the Talk About Assisted Living
Assisted living falls among the conversations dreaded by parents and their children alike. Starting the conversation about these types of long-term plans, even when they come from good intentions, can be stressful and overwhelming for everyone involved. Here are some tips from our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, for making it a positive and constructive conversation:
- Don’t wait until for a crisis. For many of us, it’s easier to ignore this issue while our parents are healthy and independent, but this can mean trouble when serious issues do arise. Instead, keep it a casual but meaningful ongoing conversation in which everyone is involved — especially your parents — and there are no urgent and serious decisions to be made.
Sit down with your parents at home on a quiet day.While acknowledging that this isn’t an easy topic to talk about, it’s important to you that they are cared for properly. Ask them what they envision for themselves and start planning so that you and your family can work together to achieve it.
- Be honest. Many families have trouble communicating their fears and concerns, and parents often feel uncomfortable talking about their loss of independence making them a burden on their families. By bringing up the subject in a non-confrontational way, you may be surprised at their response.
Talking honestly will also help you get a better idea of how they are really coping — if managing the house is becoming too difficult, looking after a spouse too demanding, or if they are becoming lonely or isolated as friends move into away, for example. This will better help you find an option that offers the right level of support.
- Don’t gang up and let the issue escalate. As a potentially very emotional and stressful conversation, it’s important it doesn’t escalate into an argument. Use a calm, relaxed tone of voice. Listen to what your parent or parents want, rather than giving ultimatums or talking over them. Highlight the positives of each option, whether the communities you’re suggesting have a lively social spirit; have lovely, maintenance–free living options; or are close to friends, family and loved ones, for example.
- Don’t put on the pressure. One of the biggest barriers to entering assisted living is that many people don’t really know what modern senior communities offer. This fear of the unknown mixes with fear of losing independence, making many people actively dismiss an potentially beneficial option. Take your time to look at recommended assisted living communities and places where family friends may reside, and do your research online. Then, visit these communities and see for yourself what would suit your parents. This will give the peace-of-mind you need to properly communicate the choices to your parents, and help convince them to come along for their own tour.
Assisted living community in NJ for independent seniors
Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities’ network of high-quality, non-profit, faith-based, assisted living communities specializing in assisted living for seniors. With an experienced care and assistance team, scalable services customized to each resident’s needs, and a lively social calendar, we focus on delivering essential resources to promote independence and quality of life.