How to Talk to Your Parents About Assisted Living

Feb 28, 2023
talk to your parents about assisted living

Having a conversation about moving parents to assisted living can go a lot easier when everyone is open-minded, empathetic and has good information about assisted living communities. Today’s modern assisted living communities have come a long way so before sitting down to talk to your parents about assisted living take these five tips for making the conversation productive to heart.

5 Tips for talking to your parents about assisted living

Tip #1 – Get everyone involved

When planning to talk to your parents about assisted living, make it a family affair so that everyone feels they are included and respected. Even if you are the primary caregiver, others may also have insights and ideas that can help. Most importantly, make sure your parents are front and center and that they are not ignored but rather respected and feel in control of their own lives. Allow everyone the time they need to speak and acknowledge their opinions with compassion and understanding.

Tip #2 – Be empathetic

When you talk to your parents about senior living being empathetic can help your parents realize that you do understand and respect their feelings. Walking in their shoes is the best way to fully appreciate their worries and fears and to express how much you understand. At the same time empathy can also help you explain that while you do appreciate how they feel, you also have concerns that center on their safety, health and happiness.

Keep in mind when you talk to your parents about assisted living that empathy and sympathy are not the same. While empathy helps portray your true understanding, sympathy may only make parents feel pitied, something that is not helpful. To best understand the difference, check out the article, “Sympathy vs. Empathy.”

Tip #3 – Explain your reasons

When you talk to your parents about assisted living, be prepared to counter the argument that they can take care of themselves. Even when parents know they need more help, the thought of moving may prompt them to become defensive.

To help them appreciate your standpoint, remind them if they have had a fall, were recently diagnosed with a chronic illness, have mobility problems or struggle with day-to-day life to the point that their safety is at risk. Also, be honest if caregiving has become too much for the caregiver to manage due to other obligations or because your parents’ health needs exceed their capabilities. If your parents’ physician has recommended or just suggested that assisted living may be a good option, don’t be afraid to share that with your parents as well. Sometimes having an outside professional’s opinion can help them realize that assisted living may in fact be the best choice. Learn more in our blog, “My Parents Won’t Move to Assisted Living – Resources to ease the conversation.”

Tip #4 – Explain how assisted living has changed

One of the easiest hurdles to overcome when you talk to your parents about assisted living concerns is all the ways assisted living has changed during the past several decades. What they remember from times past is likely nothing like assisted living in the 21st century. For starters, tell them assisted living is not an “old folks home” but rather an active and vibrant community. Within each community residents have the freedom and independence to enjoy a daily calendar of activities and events, pursue their own hobbies and interests and spend time with friends and family as they wish.

Another important change regards meals, something that is often a big concern for seniors. Today’s best assisted living communities offer chef-prepared meals designed to be both nourishing and appetizing and residents often have different dining options like formal dining rooms, cafes or bistros and even lounges where they can get together with friends.

Also be sure to emphasize the convenience factor of having onsite exercise centers, local transportation, housekeeping and laundry services, and professional services like pharmacies, rehabilitation services and hearing specialists. Find out what to expect in our blog, “Assisted Living in Michigan: Everything You Need to Know.”

Tip #5 – Emphasize socialization

One very important aspect of aging well is staying social but getting together with friends can become a challenge when living at home, often resulting in loneliness and isolation. Before you talk with parents about assisted living read our blog, “How Assisted Living Helps to Meet New Friends Later in Life” for points that can help parents realize just how much fun it can be to enjoy the company of friends, new and old alike.

Ganton’s Countryside Senior Living community is among the best choices in Michigan for seniors considering assisted living. For more information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.

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