While many people understand that a day may come when their aging parents can no longer care for themselves, it doesn’t make the circumstances any easier when that day arrives. Whether you have been looking for a way to bring up the topic for a while delicately or a recent illness or injury has thrust forced you to act, you likely want to voice your concerns without causing anger or defensiveness.
It’s natural for your parent to have reservations about receiving assisted care. They may insist that they can maintain their independence or express fears about what will happen to their home and belongings. If you’re having a hard time finding the right way to talk to your parents about assisted living, here are five strategies you can utilize to have this conversation with empathy and love:
1. When possible, plan ahead
Ideally, you’ll want to discuss assisted living options and start planning with your parents before it becomes a necessity. Otherwise, an unforeseen accident or medical condition could force you to make these critical decisions quickly. To ensure you respect your parent’s assisted care aligns with their wishes, start the process early when they are still sharp and healthy.
2. Find an organic way to start the dialogue
Rather than springing this topic on your parent out of the blue, it can help if you can find a way to start the conversation naturally. For example, if your parent has recently suffered minor injuries from a fall or has been having a hard time remembering to pay their bills, you can use these situations as a window to voice your concerns and ask what they think about assisted care options.
3. Listen to their concerns
The idea of assisted living is a hard pill to swallow for many seniors. Sometimes pride can get in the way of them wanting to accept help or fear can make them think they are losing their independence. It’s vital that you listen to their concerns and validate them, as moving into assisted living is a significant transition for their way of life.
4. Visit different facilities
Sometimes the best way to ease your parent’s concerns regarding assisted care is to show them their options. Most people have heard horror stories about the conditions of nursing homes or the quality of their care. Visit different facilities together and find an assisted living community that your loved one feels comfortable with.
5. Remember it’s an ongoing process
It’s okay if you and your parent don’t figure everything out in a single conversation. You will probably have to revisit the topic many times before you make any decisions together. The important thing is to have compassion and understand that it’s an ongoing process.
Discussing assisted care options with your elderly parent may be a tough conversation, but it’s a good idea to have it when you can both explore your options. While there’s no one-size-fits-all way to tackle the subject, applying these tips can give you an excellent place to start.