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How to Talk To Your Parents About Assisted Living

Father and daughter enjoying a cup of coffee.

When older adults reach a point where they would benefit from assisted living, it’s sometimes difficult for them to make the transition. People typically feel most comfortable at home, and aging parents may be in the house they’ve called home for many years. But there may well  come a time when they will need help with day-to-day activities to stay safe and happy. Bringing up the subject of moving to an assisted living community can lead to a very difficult conversation, but there are ways you can approach the subject. Here are some tips if you’re wondering how to talk to parents about assisted living.

Talk with Other Family Members

Before you bring up any concerns you have with your aging parent, talk with siblings and extended family. See how they feel about it. You may not agree on every point, however. One sibling may live closer to the parent and feel like the burden will fall more heavily on them when more care is needed. They may be more eager to have the parent move to an assisted living facility than a sibling who lives far away.

On the other hand, a sibling who lives far away may feel like they can’t be there to help as much as they would like, and they worry about their parent’s safety and quality of life without them around. If you have an open and honest conversation among siblings first, you can come to an agreement about how to move forward.


Do Some Research

Find out about assisted living communities near your parent or near you. Look at ratings, certifications, services, amenities, and everything else they have to offer. You’re not necessarily making the decision of where they should live. That should  be up to your parent. The point is to familiarize yourself with what assisted living is and what that sort of community has to offer.

You’re sure to find that an assisted living community can be a real step up in your parent’s lifestyle. You’re looking into it because you’re concerned about their health and well-being, but don’t forget to talk about the fact that they’d be moving to a really nice new home, surrounded by fun activities, too. The best communities provide chef prepared dining, fitness classes, hobby workshops, as well as housekeeping and concierge services.


Bring Up the Possibility Gently

When you’re thinking about how to talk to parents about assisted living, consider first “planting the seed.” You’re introducing them to the possibility of making a move that would make them happier. If you state your opinion too strongly you may come across as though you’ve already made up your mind that they’re moving. They may need help, but as adults and as your parents, they want and deserve the respect of being heard and having their opinions valued.

No adult wants to be dictated to, especially when it comes to where and how they live their life. If you push too hard and make them feel forced, they’ll only resist even more. There’s sometimes a stigma, however outdated, that moving out of the family home is seen as giving up, or failing in some way. If you’re ready to talk about the benefits a specific community like Freedom Pointe has to offer beyond just assistance, you’re more likely to have a more positive early conversation.

Look for “Teachable Moments”

If your parent has a close call that didn’t result in serious injury, it can be something you can reference when you decide to talk about when to move your parents into assisted living. You do need to be sensitive to the fact that when someone has an accident or makes a mistake, it can make them emotional and defensive. When you first hear news of a close call, you can use it simply as an opportunity to remind them that you love them and you’re glad they’re OK.

A bit later on, if you’re wondering how to convince a parent to go to assisted living, you can bring up the “teachable moment.” You can remind your parent that you’re so glad they weren’t hurt as badly as they could have been, and together you need to think of ways to prevent something worse from happening next time.

Tell Them How You Feel

Part of how to talk to your parents about assisted living is letting them know it’s an emotional topic for you, too. All you want is for them to be happy and safe. If you’re feeling like the burden of care may fall more heavily on you than you can handle with your career and children and other obligations in your life, you’d feel terrible if you couldn’t help enough. No parent wants to be a burden, and this appeal can make sense to them.

Talk About Finances

The issue of money may come up and be an uncomfortable topic when talking about when to move your parent into assisted living. If you consult a financial planner and you have a clear understanding of your parent’s monthly budget, you can demonstrate ways they would be more comfortable and secure, and be freed of the possibility of financially devastating surprises, like needed home repairs.

When you’re thinking about how to talk to parents about assisted living, bringing it up briefly as part of a conversation about finances can be a way to introduce the idea of assisted living gently.

Tour a Quality Community

The best assisted living communities are really wonderful places to live. When a senior needs assistance, their life can be vastly improved when they move out of their family home. It’s understandable if they’re reluctant to change, or feel like they’re no longer independent. But talking about their independence is a convincing topic.

If you’re talking about when to move your parent into assisted living, talk about independence. This can be especially effective during a tour. When they’re seeing a quality community to live in, you can reinforce that they won’t be losing independence. They’ll be gaining it. When they’re receiving assistance that helps them get on with their day, they’ll spend less time taking care of everything for themselves and they can go out and enjoy themselves, with all the services, amenities and friends right outside their door.You can view our checklist for touring an assisted living community.


Respect Them and Their Decision

When you’ve talked about assisted living with your parent, made the case for their comfort, safety, independence and quality of life, they may still express they’re simply not ready to make the move. You need to respect the decisions they make about their own life. Be patient. Understand that it’s not an easy decision. If you put yourself in their shoes, you may be able to understand their feelings. Just remember, the conversation you’re having isn’t the last. There will be other chances. They’ll have friends who have made the move and are happy. A doctor may recommend it. A financial planner may lay out the cost benefits. You’ll have other chances to bring it up and let them come around.


A Better Way of Life at Freedom Pointe

When your parent needs assisted living, and is ready to talk about it, we’re here and eager for you to visit. Schedule a tour and let us show you all we have to offer, and all the ways we can help your parent be happy, healthy and safe. With our assisted living services and amenities, they’ll be as busy enjoying life as they want. And with our expert, caring staff, they’ll soon realize that if they choose to live here, our assistance will give them freedom.