Everyone wants to live in their own home for as long as they can, and your loved one is probably no different. But with age, our bodies are no longer how they used to be, and living independently can become dangerous. When our loved ones’ functionalities start to decline, we would need to speak with them about the realities of their living situation and look into other options. We all have our parents’ best interests at heart, but sometimes they do not see it that way and such conversations can turn sour.
So how can we convince them of the benefits of moving to assisted living? There are certain ways you can handle this situation.
Take It Slow
Avoid making your parents feel forced and feel that you are making the decision for them. Breach the subject slowly by planting seeds of the topic. Break the conversation up into smaller bites over a period of time, it may weeks or even take months but patience is key in such situations. This is a big decision in your parents’ lives, and aging already means losing control over certain things such as their functionalities, so we want to ensure that our loved ones know that they are in control of their lives, including this decision.
If the current situation permits you to, it is best if you can start speaking about assisted living way before the need arises.
Maximize “Teachable Moments”
Know when are the right moments to say something. Has your parent mentioned that housework is too tiring or overwhelming? Have they complained about being lonely because they don’t see their friends as often anymore? Catch these opportunities to bring up assisted living either on the spot or after some time. Pain points are great conversation starters when speaking about alternative forms of senior living.
Highlight The Benefits
The resistance older adults have against assisted living is due to a lack of understanding of the living option or misunderstanding it as a last resort where one “gives up”. Remind your parent of the benefits of assisted living, such as peace of mind for both resident and family members knowing that help is available on-site 24/7, no more daily chores, delicious chef-prepared meals daily, fun recreational activities regularly, they are surrounded by friends, and best of all they get to retain their independence and freedom. Reframe the benefits according to what you know your loved one is concerned about and will enjoy.
Ask around if there are any other family members or friends of your parent that is already happy in assisted living. You can arrange for a conversation between them and your loved one over the phone or via video call to have them share their unbiased experience in assisted living. Knowing that there is a built-in network in the retirement community would also be a great encouragement for them.
You can bring your loved one to your shortlisted retirement communities and take a tour of the community. On tour, both of you can enjoy a meal there and participate in one of their activities. This gives your parent a better, first-hand understanding of the assisted living experience. Do not push the subject while you are there and remember to always ask for their opinion and input.