How to Convince Your Parents to Move to Assisted Living
There are few conversations more difficult than talking to your parents about the prospect of moving out of their home. Families struggle with this every day.
It’s hard to balance the feeling of wanting what’s best for your loved one with the reality of what a move to assisted living means to your parent. This post is intended to help make the discussion easier, with an outcome that is beneficial to all involved.
Assisted Living: Defined
An assisted living community is designed for people who need help with daily activities in order to live well and safely. Care is available 24/7 and all basic needs are covered, including meals, laundry, housekeeping and transportation. Assisted living communities also provide ample opportunities for socialization and intellectual stimulation. Many also have a dedicated memory care unit or floor for residents with dementia or other cognitive conditions.
An Important Distinction
An assisted living community is not a nursing home. Far from it. Residents have their own apartments. They can bring in their own furniture and favorite things. There is also a full life waiting outside their apartment. A busy social and activity calendar keeps residents engaged and interested.
At Salina Presbyterian Manor, we take great care to provide a pleasant and inviting setting for our assisted living residents. Everyone here is encouraged to live as independently as possible, enjoying life at their own pace, comfortable and secure in the knowledge that they have access to the help they need when they need it.
Timing is Everything
Unfortunately, families often wait until an injury or illness occurs to hurriedly find accommodations for their parent. A stroke or a fall can change life overnight. That’s why it’s important to be proactive in planning for assisted living before you are under duress.
If we see our parent(s) frequently, we may not actually notice their decline day over day. Often a sibling or other relative from afar can see things most clearly. They notice that mom or dad is slower or less stable than the last time they visited. An honest conversation can help set things in motion, with the health and wellness of the parent as the central focus.
Few families lament about starting the journey too soon. You can start by researching assisted living communities. Collect brochures and pricing information. Talk to admission directors. Go for a tour by yourself before introducing your parent to a particular community. Do the front-end work to help ease the process.
Finding Common Ground
Think about the situation from your parent’s perspective. There can be a lot of mixed feelings at play. The head and the heart may have different ideas about what comes next.
Logically, your parent may know that they need extra help to live healthfully and safely. Emotionally, however, they don’t want to leave the home they’ve known. They don’t want to start over at “their” age. The logistics can be overwhelming … paperwork, finances, packing, selling the family home. Moving to assisted living is a considerable undertaking.
Imagine that you might experience the same scenario with your own children at some point in the future. What would make you want to move on to the next phase of your life in an assisted living community? Would you feel good about it if your friends were there too? What if you had a chance to tour different communities and felt empowered to make your own decisions?
Chances are that your parent feels the same way. Ask them about friends who are enjoying life in an assisted living community. Find out what they would want most in a new location if they were to move. Stress the convenience of having meals, laundry and housekeeping taken care of, with no worries. Also, talk about the advantages of an onsite team that is 100% dedicated to their health and wellness needs.
When Your Parent Won’t Budge
If your parent remains adamant about not moving — and you are truly concerned about their ability to live safely on their own — there is a legal option. A forced guardianship or conservatorship can be arranged if certain conditions are met. This is a last resort for families, as the process is costly and lengthy.
There are several factors that a judge will weigh before granting a guardianship or conservatorship. This includes the mental competence of your parent, their right to make their own decisions, and the potential for making home modifications and/or securing in-home care. There are also anti-discrimination laws that prevent “institutionalization” under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
Doing the Right Thing
All you really care about is doing the right thing for the person(s) who took care of you for so long. he team at Salina Presbyterian Manor can help answer your questions and work with you to arrange tours and more. Having a trusted partner in us can make all the difference in meeting your goals and your parent’s needs.