Having the talk about assisted living can be challenging for everyone involved. Adult children and grandchildren can find it stressful even to broach the subject, fearful of what their aging parents might say in response. An aging parent, meanwhile, can sometimes be resistant to the idea of assisted living, feeling as though they are being pushed into forfeiting their independence.
Hard though it may be, this is a conversation that needs to happen sooner or later—so what can you do to make the discussion a little bit less stressful? Here are a few tips for initiating this tough topic.
Make the conversation ongoing. Assuming your parents are still living independently and reasonably safely, you can bring it up gently, and allow the discussion to unfold over time. For example, start with this: “I know this is a tough topic, but I just want to make sure we’re on the same page and that I honor your wishes.” You don’t have to decide anything right off the bat; just open the lines of dialogue.
Use positive language. Emphasizing non-institutional language is key. Don’t call it an assisted living facility; call it a community. Don’t refer to the rooms, but rather to the condo-style living. Emphasize things like social activities and prepared meals.
Be empathetic. Try to be mindful of why your parents resist the idea of assisted living—i.e., that it forces them to confront their own mortality. Go easy on them, and remember that it’s a really hard realization to come to.
Be mindful of how dementia and other diseases progress. If your parent has a progressive disease, you’ll want to know what to expect from it, what kind of timeline you’re on, and what red flags to watch out for—all of which can underscore the urgency of your ongoing talks.
A final thought: Know your options. Be able to speak in specifics. Consult with us at CountryHouse to learn more.
Need help planning a transition? Contact us at CountryHouse.