5 Communication Tactics to Help your Parent Move to Assisted Living
As our parents age, their physical abilities and overall well being often change, especially if they have certain medical issues or mobility limitations. While it would be great if we could care for our elderly parents full-time, the reality is that most of us don’t have the medical expertise or time required to provide the level of care they need.
If you think it’s time to have the conversation about moving your parent into an assisted living community, we’ve put together this list of five helpful communication tactics to support you in the process. It’s normal to receive some resistance from your parent when first bringing up the idea. However, with love, patience, and a little bit of advice from our team of experts, you’ll be able to make the best choice for your loved one and your family.
Plant the seed early.
We recommend having the assisted living conversation with your elderly parent well ahead of when the need arises. It’s an emotional topic for many of us, and normalizing it through family discussions will make the transition easier when the time comes. Don’t position it as if you’ve already made the decision on their behalf – it’s important for your mom or dad to feel as if they’re in control of their own choices.
Do your research.
Make a list of assisted living communities in your area, and ask your loved one if they’d like to join you for some tours. It’s likely they’ll be resistant at first, and if that’s the case, don’t get discouraged. Pushing them will likely result in them growing even more resistant to the idea, so simply wait a few weeks then suggest it again.
Highlight the benefits.
Many older adults feel that moving into assisted living means losing their independence, when in fact the opposite is true. Many of the benefits your parent will enjoy, like help with cleaning, chores, and meal preparation, will leave them more time to focus on hobbies they love. They’ll also have assistance with their medications, more time to themselves or to socialize with fellow residents, and around-the-clock access to nurses and medical care if needed.
Let it all sink in.
As the old saying goes, “time heals all wounds.” People need time to reflect on big changes in their lives, especially emotional decisions like this. Give them time to process their feelings. Also, make it clear that you’re always there if they want to talk things through again in order to feel more secure with the decision.
Arrange a family meeting.
While we don’t recommend anything serious like an intervention, we do think it can be beneficial to have a casual family get-together where everyone can talk through the decision together. Give your parent a chance to express their concerns, and be empathetic to their worries. Allow your other family members to share their opinions, as well. Hearing their children’s thoughts, and learning how much better they’d feel if they knew mom or dad was in a safe assisted living community instead of living on their own, can help your mom or dad adjust to the idea.
Having peace of mind is essential, and your parent’s well-being is of the utmost importance. If you need support to foster the assisted living conversation with mom or dad, please contact our team at UMC today.