Start Talking to Your Parents About Assisted Living
Approaching the topic of assisted living with aging loved ones can cause families and other caregivers a great deal of emotion and potential stress and conflict. Beginning the process brings things like “scary” issues, misunderstandings, helplessness, and guilt to the surface, to the point where they may even want to avoid it completely. But know that delaying these important conversations can have harmful consequences.
As experts in this field, we see both perspectives – that of the senior and that of their family members. We hope that by reading our guide below, you can overcome your doubts, set a solid foundation for talking with your elderly parents about long-term care, and, eventually, make decisions as a team that can be mutually beneficial.
It’s Tough to Talk About Assisted Living with Your Parents (and Also Essential)
Let’s face it: There are many natural reasons why caregivers dread discussing long-term care with their aging loved ones. According to the families we speak to, here are some of the major stumbling blocks:
- They simply find it unpleasant to discuss potentially awkward or distressing subjects – especially “hard” conversations about age-related changes.
- They don’t want their parents to feel bad or react negatively (sad, angry, defensive, and so on).
- They fear provoking delicate or unstable family dynamics and the tense interactions and situations that could result.
- They worry about communicating their thoughts, concerns, and ideas effectively.
Regardless of how uncomfortable everyone might be at first, tackling the topic head-on positively supports the finest quality of life for your parent’s golden years.
You Need to Discuss Senior Living Options ASAP
Unfortunately, avoiding this important conversation is all too common. Citing some survey results from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, PBS reports that startlingly few Americans are planning for long-term care, or even talking about it.
Jennifer Agiesta, the Director of Polling for the Associated Press, points out, “Very few people have arranged to pay for or even to think about their own needs. Most haven’t even taken the basic step of talking to family members about their preferences.”
Seems like the majority of older Americans share this disturbing sense of denial. The truth, however, is in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stats: “Approximately 70% of people turning age 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives.”
Furthermore, indications show that a senior’s chance of requiring care increases with every year that passes. Per expert predictions, whatever might be keeping you from this important conversation could inevitably cause bigger, more alarming problems.
Feel Guilty About Moving Your Loved Ones into Assisted Living? That’s Probably a Good Sign!
Lots of family members experience what they consider “crushing” guilt over placing their parents in assisted living. While that appears to be a reasonable sentiment at first glance, remember to focus on the reality: By introducing appropriate senior living options, what you’re doing is providing opportunities for a healthier, happier, and longer life they might have missed out on.
Moreover, any guilt you might feel indicates your empathy in this situation. In trying to see things from your parent’s point of view, you’ll be better able to lead a responsible and respectful discussion about long-term senior care.
Here’s Why Your Aging Parents Might Resist Assisted Living
They may struggle to put their perfectly valid hesitations into words, so demonstrate patience and seek to understand their perspectives. Their reasons for being reluctant could encompass:
R Not wanting to look weak.
While nobody likes to appear fragile or feeble, that concern can be magnified when a senior refuses to accept the transition from caregiver to care recipient. Such resistance can cause them to hide or deny lapses in physical or cognitive abilities – changes that could potentially threaten your parents’ health and well-being, if not addressed.
R Avoiding having to “give up” their independence.
For a senior who’s taken charge over many years – handling both their own and others’ daily needs – having their sense of control taken away can cause massive anxiety. By not being able to do these tasks for themselves anymore, this perceived role reversal may feel like a massive threat to their freedom.
R Being “too set in their ways.”
It’s not surprising to hear that many seniors – like many other people – become attached to their daily patterns. Luckily, caregivers can help their loved ones continue their preferred routines and lifestyles by fine-tuning their homes and habits to accommodate age-related changes. For example, they can install and teach them about adaptive devices that help with tasks, and tap into resources for elderly adults, such as transportation alternatives and meal delivery services. And of course, the right assisted living community offers peace of mind in every area.
Working through these changes or a possible move together will ensure your loved one preserves the vital strength, independence, control, and normalcy needed to ease any big transition.
How to Convince Your Parents to Move to Assisted Living
Based on our years of experience, we believe that the “right” way to encourage elderly parents to move into assisted living is to work through each concern considerately, rather than telling them what to do, or demanding that they take a certain step. Keep in mind that your loved ones may not need or want you to take charge, or to speak or decide for them. And as noted previously, they might initially refuse the idea for a variety of reasons.
Gently and compassionately, talk as a team to figure out the best senior care solution that will enable them to indulge in the lifestyle they desire and, ultimately, to be happier and healthier and extend their longevity.
Keep on preparing yourselves with advice from professionals, like Stoney Brook’s Team. Too overwhelming for you and your family to handle on your own? Ask an expert for support. Give yourselves grace, knowing you’re doing everything you can to achieve the most beneficial decision.
Trust a Central Texas Senior Living Leader
If it’s time to talk to your parents about senior living, then allow Stoney Brook’s professional team to continue guiding you. We can help you all understand the many factors involved, from discussing a potential move to easing the transition into their new home. As renowned experts in the field, we’ve skillfully designed our Central Texas assisted living communities and memory care communities. Residents flourish in a fun, resort-style, relationship-centered setting – enjoying ample, energizing activities and rewarding opportunities to socialize – so they can age well and savor each day to its absolute fullest.