Assisted living facilities are exceptional for those who need extra help with everyday tasks. They are great for seniors and those with limited mobility and an excellent choice for people who want to stay close to home rather than move into a retirement community.
Benefits associated with assisted living facilities include:
- Accessibility—Assisted living communities offer services that let residents independently while getting help from trained professionals when they need it. Seniors can choose how much help they need and enjoy the freedom of making their own choices without compromising their dignity or independence.
- Respite care—Unlike in-home care, assisted living communities offer respite care, so you can take a break from your responsibilities and spend more time enjoying yourself. With the assistance of an expert caregiver, you can rest easy knowing that your loved one is well cared for even if you are not there.
- Cost savings—Assisted living facilities typically have low monthly costs compared to an extensive at-home care budget that necessitates nursing home or hospitalization expenses further down the line. These expenses are inevitable as we age; lowering them now reduces strain on your finances and allows you to save money for other things later in life.
Remind Them About the Benefits of Assisted Living
Now that the physical aspects of moving have been taken care of, it is time to think about what can be emotionally overwhelming: telling your parents they will be shifting to the facility with all the assisted living features. It may seem harsh, but ignoring the issue or delaying it means that your parent will simultaneously worry and question when they need to move. The sooner they understand the benefits of a new location and schedule, the better off everyone will be.
Taking a proactive approach is critical. When you have decided (rather than forced) that assisted living is right for your parent, sit down with them and go through this list of benefits:
- Your parent would not need to maintain a home as large as their previous one. It saves them money on everything from maintenance bills to groceries for extravagant dinner parties for three people.
- They will be around people their age who share similar interests. No more awkward small talk at family reunions!
- The staff will take care of all housekeeping duties (including dusting off old photographs from high school). All your parent has to do is make sure not to open any doors into unfamiliar rooms (which can be tricky in some facilities).
- They will enjoy plenty of leisure activities, such as shuffleboard, bingo night, and tai chi classes.
Communicate in a Way They Understand
Imagine a person who has never lived alone in their entire life. They are used to having family around at all times. They are afraid of the dark, and they have never learned to cook, clean, or change the oil in their car. But they know they cannot stay in their house anymore because it is too big for one person. They have to start over and move into an assisted living option (ALO).
This person is scared, not just of the unknown but also of losing control. When you have lived with someone your whole life, this feels like a loss of control: made even worse by things that may get worse before they get better.
You can communicate with them by explaining that ALOs are comfortable homes where people live on their now and even have more social space than in their last homes! You can also explain to your parents that they will be living near plenty of other older adults so he could make friends easily and keep up friendships with his family members if he wanted them.
Show Them What It Is Like Inside the New Place
If you have a parent who’s starting to need a more involved level of care, it could be hard for them to visualize what the next steps will mean. You can make all the brochures and website links in the world available, but you’ll never be able to replace what you can do with a guided tour. It is critical to set expectations before bringing your parent for a visit.
Ideally, this tour would take place at their new destination; if that isn’t possible (maybe they’re unsure about moving yet), then they should at least use pictures from the place. You can add photos of both the communal spaces and the private rooms. In addition to showing them where they’ll eat meals and spend time together with other seniors and staff members, guide them through the intricacies of transportation. (a shuttle? Taxi service? Will they have a car?), where medical facilities are available (doctors’ offices are just around the corner?), and what recreational activities exist.
The goal of the new settings is to show that their requirements will be fulfilled in the manner that they desire. It will offer them comfort to know that no matter how bad things go in terms of memory, the capacity to live alone and someone else will always be there to help them when they make a mistake.
Make Sure They Understand That They Will Still Have a Say in Their Own Lives
To prepare your parents for an assisted living option, it’s essential to keep as many of their rights and freedoms as possible. It can be a difficult transition, especially if they’ve made the decision suddenly or are still in denial. The best way to help them mentally prepare is to remind them that they’ll still have significant freedom and private space after the move and will be able to make decisions on their own. They should also understand that they can continue doing the things they love and that you’ll visit often.
After reassuring your parents about their ability to enjoy what’s left of their life in a new environment, one essential factor is ensuring that staff members respect their privacy. Assisted living facilities need contingency plans for residents with mental health problems or otherwise experiencing difficulties with daily tasks or social activities.
Show Some Understanding and Respect Towards Their Decision
Parents struggling with basic tasks and making poor decisions may find themselves in a position where they need to transition into an assisted living facility. Many seniors find these facilities a blessing, whether due to age-related health issues or wear and tear due to old age. But sometimes, the process of moving in can often lead to tension. If you’re trying to help your parent transition into this new lifestyle, there are some things to remember:
- “Listen” is probably the most important word there. Your parent will have strong feelings about their decision and may feel conflicted, sad, or guilty about leaving their home (even if it’s not very safe). Instead of jumping to conclusions or making judgments, you should pay attention to what they need and why they chose this path.
- Be patient. It may take time for seniors to adjust, especially if they have a long history at home. Show them that you’re on their side can help ease the sharpest edge of any impromptu conflicts that arise during this new process.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand what’s going on—and be prepared when they ask questions.
The whole point is getting on the same page that everyone knows what the next steps will be; a little bit of mental back-and-forth can save headaches later on down the road (if anyone still has their head by then).
Proper Planning, Communication, and Patience Are Crucial
As the health of your loved one begins to decline, the care they need will become hard to provide. Transitioning into an assisted living facility will be best for them, but it can be a significant change that you don’t want to rush. It is important to maintain patience as you plan for this change. You do not want your parent to feel pressured into making this decision before they’re ready.
When speaking with your parent about assisted living, try not to make it sound too much like a medical decision or emphasize how their current home is becoming difficult to manage on their own. Instead of using words like “illness” or “disease,” use terms like “challenging” or “inconvenient.” If possible, show them examples of other family members who have made a similar move and how well it has worked out for them or their loved ones in other locations.