It’s not an easy conversation, but approaching it correctly can lessen the pressure
Having a conversation with your loved ones about their moving into an assisted living setting can be uncomfortable. Aging loved ones may feel as though they’re having their independence taken away from them, and may visibly become bothered when they’re even broached with the topic.
Concerned family and/or loved ones will want to enter into the conversation carefully in an effort to avoid unpleasant feelings all around. Though it’s recommended that the subject be brought up gently, it’s important to do so as early as possible to prevent potential emotional trauma.
Moving at any point in life is a big adjustment. When having the conversation about assisted living, it is imperative to mention that there are benefits for aging parents, such as a unique and extended sense of independence, an improved social life and increased assistance with daily activities. Research suggests the psychological/sociological and physical benefits that come with receiving quality care and having a pleasant environment can extend the lives of our loved ones.
Introducing the topic of assisted living requires planning and sensitivity so you can have a positive and effective conversation. These tips were developed to enable healthy discussions about future long-term care for the elders in your life.
Wording and Phrases Matter
Emphasizing terms such as “community” and “retirement-style living” tend to be more appealing than “assisted living,” and will receive a more favorable reaction than “nursing home.” Make sure your tone of voice is calm and pleasant, and avoid any comments that could be misconstrued as condescending or unsympathetic.
Your aging family members have become accustomed to their lives and their routines—which should not be taken lightly. They won’t be so swift to want to pack up and move into a different environment if they’ll lose part of that routine—including simple things like time with grandchildren, or a loss of certain possessions. Let them know that this is not the case—alleviate their concerns and accommodate their wishes.
Visit the Communities Together
Allowing family members to see the environment and the amenities in these communities can help minimize the fears they might have. Check to see what the community offers in the way of activities for residents, both one-on-one and group interactions.
Convey Your Understanding
It’s crucial to recognize what would make your family member hesitant to move into any type of new environment. From having access to a kitchen and private bedrooms and bathrooms to patio spaces and lounge areas, your parents are comfortable in their own home. If your loved ones need help with housekeeping, grocery shopping or other daily tasks, our staff is available to accommodate those needs. When your family members settle in, they’ll realize they have more time to do the things they enjoy, like playing cards or being part of a book club.
It’s a Collaborative Process & a Decision Has Not Been Made Yet
Present the idea of assisted living as an option. Nothing is set in stone, and there are always other possibilities. When discussing assisted living, present other options such as an in-home caregiver, hiring someone to help with daily tasks such as meal preparation and laundry or installing an emergency alarm. Discuss the pros and cons of each option after all have been raised.
Keep Your Parents Involved Throughout the Process
Your aging loved one might already feel like they’re forfeiting their independence with the mention of moving into a retirement community. Keeping them involved in the decision-making can help minimize this feeling. This will allow your parents to experience firsthand what the community is like, and gives them a chance to talk to other residents. When they’re part of these communities, there can still be plenty of opportunities for independence. Encore Communities and similar communities are designed to lessen the stress and pressures of age.
Additional Planning: Power of Attorney
As you prepare to discuss future long-term plans with your family member, it’s important to have a power of attorney (POA) in place. A POA is often necessary when it comes to an individual needing to be admitted to an assisted living facility. A POA is accepted in all states, but the rules and requirements differ from state to state.
Most of us do not look forward to the day we need to start talking about assisted living options for the ones we care most about. The tips listed above are intended to make the conversation as easy as is possible. Following these tips can help ease the stress and anxiety about the future for your loved ones while presenting options for them to maximize their golden years.