Talking to aging loved ones about assisted living is daunting, but these guidelines can make it easier, and perhaps even enjoyable. Something brought you to the point of considering having this conversation. Maybe you noticed a lack of quality food, poor hygiene, inadequate home cleanliness and maintenance, or perhaps more emotional signs such as forgetfulness and being socially withdrawn.
If so, it is time for action.
1. Plan and practice.
The earlier you can start planning, the better. Include other family members in planning the conversation regarding assisted living options. Understand that all siblings may not agree on the right course of action so set guidelines in advance to allow those disagreements to be discussed in a cordial manner. Plan the conversation you intend to have with your aging loved one and then practice it to be sure your ideas are framed with love and support.
2. Visit assisted living communities.
Visit at least a few assisted living communities, including Carlton Senior Living. (Download the free “Senior Living Checklist” for a list of things to observe during your tours.) You may be more surprised than your parent or loved one at the extremely high quality of life assisted living communities offer. When selecting possible locations, think about proximity to you (and other care givers) as well as to your loved one’s current home.
3. Discuss the subject during a private time.
Talking about their needs can be embarrassing for some seniors, so hold the conversation during a quiet time when they can be at ease and not be concerned about their highly personal affairs being aired in front of a group. One of the easiest ways to start the discussion is by mentioning someone they know who is in assisted living or who should be in assisted living and asking how your loved one would like to live if they had such a need. You may discover it is a subject to which they have already given a tremendous amount of thought.
4. Be ready for the objections.
Some aging parents are immediately thrilled about the prospect of assisted living because of the freedom, social interaction and newfound independence it gives them. Others think of it as a loss of independence, separation from their current friends and fear it as a sterile, nursing home environment. Your visits to assisted living communities will have prepared you to explain the differences and the freedoms they will once again be able to enjoy when there is a helping hand nearby. Our greatest generation is also a thrifty generation, so be prepared to discuss the costs of assisted living and how to pay for it. (Request the free report “How to Pay for Senior Living”)
5. Be respectful.
Be very respectful of your loved one’s thoughts, feeling and emotions during the conversation. Admitting weakness and their need for gentle assistance is not easy. In many cases, their home is part of their legacy, they know it well and they feel safe there. Leaving that home can be emotional. Invite them to join you for a tour of an assisted living community. If it’s a Carlton Senior Living community, plan on it being a tour with a complimentary luncheon prepared by our talented chefs.
Listen to your loved one’s concerns and do not feel you need to confront their objections with anything but your genuine desire for their well-being. Let them know their hobbies and interests can move with them, and often flourish in a community that shares their passions.
7. Talk again.
This is not likely to be a one-time conversation. Plan on broaching the topic again, perhaps multiple times, and always in an atmosphere of privacy and supportive concern. If their needs are not urgent, allow them the time they need to become comfortable with the idea. If living without assistance has become too dangerous, accelerate the conversation with frank discussions of those dangers and the freedom they will enjoy in an assisted living community.
Carlton Senior Living offers caring and supportive staff 24 hours a day. Many Carlton Senior Living communities feature independent living, assisted living and memory care which allows your loved ones to receive higher levels of care as their needs change. All Carlton Senior Living communities feature nutritious and delicious cuisine with unparalleled quality and service.For more information about Carlton Senior Living, visit the website at CarltonSeniorLiving.com or call toll-free, 800-227-5866.