How to Talk to Your Parent About Assisted Living
The pandemic is still active, so chances are seniors and their families haven’t seen much of each other lately. No one wants to be responsible for giving COVID-19 to a loved one! Without being around a senior frequently it may be hard to tell over the phone or on Zoom how they’re holding up with simple daily activity. Why is that important? Because if they are having trouble dressing, bathing and cooking for example, it may be time to help them find the path to senior living.
Convincing a Parent to Consider Assisted Living
You’ve determined it’s time to give a loved one more care, but convincing them they need it is often your biggest obstacle. Think about how you would feel if someone made a major decision for you. It always feels better when we come a conclusion ourselves. So how do you do that with your parent?
Know Your Stuff
It's almost a given that seniors of this generation will hear the words "senior living" or "Assisted Living" and immediately assume you want to put them in a horrible, dark, smelly nursing home. That's all that existed back in their day, and it's terrifying.
So do your research. Look at pictures and videos of local communities. Even better, give some a call and set up a time to tour for yourself. Make sure you understand how Assisted Living and nursing homes are different, so when the time comes, you can help educate your parent and nip those misconceptions in the bud.
Plant the Seed
Share with them what you’ve noticed. Maybe they’ve lost weight because they aren’t eating well, and they may not be eating well because they aren’t cooking. Maybe they’re struggling to change their clothes. Maybe they’re not bathing often enough because it’s difficult to stand in the shower for that long. To start the conversation, mention your observations and offer options that could make their lives easier. Share stories of others who’ve moved to senior living and what they’ve expressed about the added support.
Listen to Their Fears
Next, find out what their fears might be. Are they overwhelmed about the details of making a move? Is it the pain of selling the family home? Is it going through all the “stuff”? Help them understand how those steps would be accomplished. Offer to take them to tour a senior care community. If they are willing, get it set up as soon as possible. If not, then wait. Watch for a teachable moment when there is an example in front of them like a fender bender, or a stumble or ignored home maintenance. It can be a sobering moment. Assuming none of those issues becomes an emergency, express how scared it makes you feel thinking that it could have been worse and how it must make them feel.
Suggest a Visit
Suggest a visit to a senior living community in a familiar neighborhood just to see what it looks like, or better yet, suggest a visit to see one of their friends who has already moved in. Enlisting the help of a family friend, doctor or church leader they respect can also be extremely helpful. Third parties can often make headway where family members cannot.
Most communities are handling visitors and limited tours in masks. If they have fears around COVID-19, a visit can also help them see their well-established safety precautions. Tour multiple places if possible and ask your loved one for their input. Did one feel too big? The other feel too small? Did one feel too fancy? The other feel cozy? Help them process THEIR likes and dislikes as they come to their conclusion about preferences. They like privacy? They get it. They like socialization? They get that too. Let them know how YOU would feel about giving them increased care. Letting your parent know that living a maintenance-free life, surrounded by caring people gives you peace of mind. However, remember, it’s about your parent and not about you.
Intrigued? Melrose Meadows is an award-winning Independent and Assisted Living community in the heart of Iowa City. Give us a call or email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about your needs and how we can help!