Adult children of aging parents are all too familiar with what it means to have those “difficult conversations.” There’s the one where you ask Dad to stop driving. Or try to convince Mom she needs a walker. Perhaps one of the toughest conversations to have is talking to your parents about assisted living.
Many seniors choose to move into senior living communities on their own during their younger, more active years so they can easily transition to assisted living. However, it’s not uncommon for aging parents to hold on to the notion of remaining independent or believing that loved ones can help with the home care they need. That’s often the case even when it’s clear a parent requires the kind of daily care that assisted living facilities are best suited to provide.
When Is the Best Time to Talk About Assisted Living?
The answer to that question varies. It’s no surprise that the effects of getting older can sneak up. Maybe you’ve noticed Mom is having trouble with activities of daily living (what clinicians call ADLs) like dressing, mobility, hygiene or toileting alone. Those are signs that shouldn’t be ignored. If at all possible, it’s even more considerate to have the conversation with her about elder care before the need arises and to continue an open dialogue as the situation evolves.
Tips for a Successful Conversation with Your Parent
Talking to your parents about assisted living isn’t easy for any adult child, but it’s so vitally important. Here are few pointers to keep in mind as you begin:
- Casual Is Best: Keep your talks from seeming confrontational. Have them over a cup of tea on the porch and don’t overwhelm Mom or Dad by getting too many family members involved in the discussion. Experts suggest making your initial conversations loose and casual. Get an idea of your parent’s attitude and desires – he or she may be more open to the idea than you expected.
- Write It Down: This isn’t a time for chatty spontaneity – write down your thoughts in advance to help you stay on point and keep emotions in check. Plan to engage in several conversations of this nature and go slow. If things start to get heated, retreat and bring up the topic another time.
- Employ Positivity: Sometimes a parent just needs to hear out loud what they already know. But it’s important to word it in a positive, caring way like, “Mom, you’ve done everything for our family and you’ve always been strong for us … now it’s your turn to get a little extra help so you can relax and enjoy life worry-free … you deserve it.” For many aging adults, it can be a relief to have someone tell them it’s OK to lean on others.
- Sell the Benefits: There are so many wonderful advantages to assisted living in addition to daily attention by trained health care team members. Remind your Mom or Dad about the pleasure of being served delicious meals instead of having to cook; having friends and great activities just outside their door; and how nice it would not to worry about paying bills, cleaning the house, repairs, etc.
- Do Your Due Diligence: Sit down at the computer together and spend time browsing several senior living community websites. You’ll quickly come to see that not all communities are alike in their philosophies and especially in what they offer. A community offering Life Care like Friendship Village of South Hills will allow your mom or dad to receive increasing levels of care, including long-term care, with virtually no increase in monthly costs.
- Seek Out Referrals: Look to friends and co-workers for recommendations. You’ll be amazed at how many people in your age group have gone through exactly what you’re experiencing. Their tips, advice and referrals are invaluable.
- Take a Tour Together: Assisted living communities love to show off the various living options and amenities they offer. Definitely plan to visit a few different communities with Mom or Dad to compare and contrast. You may even be able to arrange to have lunch together in the dining room, which is a great way to get a feel for the culture, meet some residents and sample the food.
We’d Love to Show You Around
When you and your loved one are ready to discuss assisted living options and the important concept of senior care for aging parents, we invite you to explore the advantages of living at Friendship Village of South Hills. If you’re exploring assisted living for Mom or Dad, you’ll want to tour our beautiful new health center featuring brand new assisted living residences and a host of amenities. We also offer a vibrant independent living community, along with excellent memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation services. Everything an older adult needs to live their best life today and in the future is right here. If you’d like to learn more about Life Care and what’s included, simply complete the contact form at the bottom of this page and we’ll be in touch.