One of the inevitabilities of life and aging is a growing dependency on those around you, including the dependency of your very own parents.
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but there’s only so much help a child can offer their parents until this control is out of their hands.
Whether it’s an issue of mobility and frailty or degenerative disease, senior assisted living is often the best option of aging, dependent loved ones.
If you feel your parent(s) may be resistant to the idea, here’s the best way to approach the subject with them.
How to Broach the Subject of Senior Assisted Living
The reality of aging is clear as day: as soon as a loved one’s safety is at risk, senior assisted living is on the cards. Let this company be a shining example of how assisted living can truly improve a loved one’s quality of life.
But the thought of losing their independence is enough to put off even the frailest or immobile parents. So, here’s how to talk about it.
Step 1: Openly Assess the Situation
Why is assisted living on the cards? A great starting point is to sit down and objectively assess your loved one’s living situation and their level of dependency.
Take note of why your parent may be resisting the idea of assisted living. Once you have a full understanding of their reluctance to move, you can address this issue directly.
Step 2: Prepare For the Discussion
This is not to say your discussion about assisted living needs to be scripted. But preparation is really important so that you can offer relevant information.
In this case, make sure you can answer questions on:
- Nearby assisted living facilities and the lifestyle they offer
- How assisted living can make your parent’s life easier, as well as your own
- How a facility will be able to offer support of a loved one’s changing needs, especially in the case of neurodegenerative diseases
- What an assisted living facility is not – i.e. a nursing home
- How you will continue to visit and offer love and support, as much as you can
- The peace-of-mind you can both enjoy knowing your loved one is safe, happy, and comfortable
Ultimately, this will help you and your parents make an informed decision about their future.
Step 3: Tackle the Subject Early On
The best course-of-action is to tackle the subject of assisted living as early as possible. This means that as soon as you notice a decline in a loved one’s independence or mobility, full-time care must become a consideration.
The longer you leave it, the worse your parent’s condition could become and you may have to end up making the decision for them, without their input.
Step 4: Always Speak Openly and With Love
It’s incredibly important that your parent(s) understands that your concern comes from the heart, a genuine place of concern.
Make sure to frame the conversation around your concerns and worries about their health. Remember to reiterate the importance of their care.
Be honest in your discussion and explain that an assisted living facility can offer care that you simply cannot. Remember to stay away from the term ”burden” and let them know you will always support them and visit as often as possible.
It’s also important to convey that you strive to put your loved one’s interest and care first. Discuss the limitations of your own lifestyle, time, energy, and finances to help your parent(s) fully understand the situation.
Step 5: Use a Collaborative, Inclusive Approach
This means that the topic of assisted living is always open for discussion. And that no hard and fast decisions will be made without a loved one’s consent.
Make sure your parent(s) are aware that they are 100% involved in this decision and that their input, needs, and wants are valued.
When searching for the right facility ensure you include them in discussions on finances, facilities, services, and even tours of each community.
Keep in mind that the discussion of assisted living can be challenging. A final answer or resolution is not always made after the first discussion. You may need to revisit the topic a few times until an adequate resolution is found.
Step 6: Watch Your Phrasing
There are certain terms that you should avoid when opening up the discussion of assisted living. Some of these include ”nursing home”, ”burden”, and even ”assisted living” or ”full time caregiving.”
Stick to phrases such as ”community style living” or ”retirement community.” This way the prospect sounds a little less intimidating or limiting, and little more appealing.
Avoid tones of condescension or patronization – your parents are your elders, after all.
Step 7: Remember That Your Decision Is Not Final
While your parents may be frail, ill, or immobile, this doesn’t give you free reign to make decisions on their future.
Go into the conversation with an open mind and open heart and know that your decision is not always final. Ultimately, it boils down to what your parents want- but all within reason!
Be open to suggestions and alternatives to assisted living, such as an in-home nurse, emergency alarm, etc.
Step 8: Recruit the Help of a Professional
If your parents are very resistant to the idea of assisted living, recruiting the help and expertise of a health care professional could change the game.
Basically, a health care professional could help argue your case and perhaps talk ”sense” without the attachment of emotion. In other words, they are a neutral third-party which could help your loved one understand the reality of their situation.
A health care professional presents a strong, objective argument that is backed by a medical perspective. This is something your parents cannot argue with. However, make sure you go with a familiar face such as family physician that your loved one knows and trusts.
Manage Your Health With Fitnistics
Now that you have a handle on approaching the subject of senior assisted living with a loved one, get a handle on your own health and fitness.
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