How to Discuss AL With a Parent

Right off the bat, we’ll say this: it’s never easy to talk to your aging parents about moving to assisted living. For adult children, it can be tough to see parents as anything other than the young and vibrant people they were when they raised you. For parents, it can come as a harsh reality check to know that they might not be as independent as they’ve always been.

Hopefully, we can help you navigate these tricky waters so you can have this conversation with your parents when it’s time.

When is it Time to Talk to My Parent About Assisted Living?

The rule of thumb for this conversation is the earlier, the better. Ideally, you’ll bring up the idea of assisted living while your parents are still mentally and physically capable of making good decisions for themselves. This way, it won’t come as a total shock when the time comes for them to make the transition.

Not all situations are ideal, though. Sometimes, the decision has to be made quickly: in a matter of weeks or even days if your parent has injured themselves.

Signs that it’s time to talk to your aging parents about AL include:

  • They need an increasing amount of help remembering to do things like bathing, showering, or taking medications.
  • They lack socialization with friends or neighbors.
  • They have health issues that require more care than a spouse or adult child can provide.
  • Their home may no longer be a safe environment for them due to things like balance issues or an inability to climb stairs.
  • They can no longer maintain their home by themselves.
  • They can’t realistically live with you.
  • You’ve noticed a general decrease in their quality of life.

It’s important to note here that many modern assisted living communities are not like the old-fashioned nursing homes you or your parents may have in mind. A nursing home is for individuals who require 24/7 medical care. Assisted living communities, on the other hand, provide a level of independence for residents with as much or as little care as they require.

How to Prepare for the Assisted Living Conversation

The more prepared you are to start this conversation, the better you’ll feel when it happens. A little bit of research and a lot of compassion will go a long way toward making this a successful dialogue between you and your parents.

Create a List of Your Concerns

Concrete concerns will work better than general statements like, “I’m worried about you.” Try to limit your list to a few points so your parents don’t get defensive or tune you out. As you make your list, try to come up with specific, first-hand examples that underscore your point. (“I’ve noticed the same dirty dishes in the sink my last few visits.”)

Involve Other Family Members

If you have siblings who agree that your parents might be better off in AL, ask them to join you in the conversation as backup. Same with aunts, uncles, or cousins. This isn’t a way to gang up on your parents. Instead, it shows them that everyone is on the same page about keeping them safe and healthy.

Find Assisted Living Community Options

Consider using websites like A Place for Mom to find quality assisted living communities in your or your parents’ area. Before visiting, research the features, amenities, and costs and read reviews. If possible, arrange visits to each community to get a general sense of how residents feel and to see the apartments, dining room, and common areas.

Try Not to Overwhelm Them

That said, not all of the information you gather needs to be shared upfront. You know your parents best, so start from a place of loving concern and gradually ease into the options you’ve found.

Understand That This May Require Multiple Conversations

You may be prepared to have this conversation, but for your parents, it may come out of nowhere. They might not be open to listening to what you have to say right now. Be ready to back off and start again at a better time if necessary. Gently let them know that the topic isn’t off the table, just on hold.

Be Prepared to Listen

Listen to their objections and try to understand their feelings. This can be a big transition for them, so work with what they tell you.

Don’t Pressure Them

Involve your parents in the decision-making process and avoid pressuring them into making a decision right away. Give them time to get used to the idea and keep the conversation going.

How to Bring Up Assisted Living to Your Parent

Starting a conversation with your parents can be awkward, but it’s important to do it as early as possible. Look for a relaxed and open time to talk and use some of these phrases to get the ball rolling:

  • I’ve noticed you’re having trouble on the stairs. Would you prefer not to have to use the stairs anymore?
  • Do you ever feel lonely?
  • Do you feel safe at home by yourself? What happens if you’re hurt and can’t call anyone?
  • I know you’re used to driving yourself everywhere, but how would you feel about having someone else drive you?
  • Do you need help with your regular chores at home?
  • Do you already have a long-term care plan in place? What happens if you become incapacitated?

In these conversations, it’s essential you keep the focus on your parents and their needs. Remember, this is about helping them live their best lives.

Learn What New Perspective Has To Offer

New Perspective offers quality assisted living with locations across the Midwest. You can be confident that our highly trained staff will take excellent care of your loved ones, with a range of daily activities to enjoy and delicious meals to savor.

Find out why New Perspective is the best choice for your family. Contact us today to learn about our locations and living options.