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Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

WLR Blog
Posted: Wednesday, September 2, 2020

10 tips for talking to your parents about assisted living

If you are still lucky enough to have your parents, you no doubt have witnessed the changes that growing older can bring. But there may still be a difficult conversation waiting for all of you ahead.

One day, you might need to discuss whether living alone or moving into an Assisted Living community would be best.

The challenge often arises from two conflicting viewpoints:

1. You may see this as a chance for them to safely continue to live their fullest life possible.

2.  They may see it instead as a loss of their home and independence.

Acknowledging this can help you prepare to talk with them. These conversations may not be easy, but there are steps you can take to make them less upsetting and more productive.

Before you begin

To know how best to proceed, you’ll first need to determine where you and your parents are in the process:

  • Are your parents currently in danger while living alone?

  • Has a health crisis precipitated the need to make a decision to move?

  • Is there still time to consider other options, such as bringing in help?

  • Are you being pre-emptive in discussing the future?

If you’re being pro-active - good for you. This is the best time to begin the discussion. Unfortunately, most people wait until there’s been an accident, illness or scary situation that forces everyone’s hand.

Pre-discussion topics

If there’s time, casually bringing up questions such as if they think their home is still a good fit or if they’d like to stop driving can be less threatening yet introduce the advantages of assisted living.

It might also help to remind them that community life can actually be more independent than staying at home and relying on others. If you see them tiring of keeping up with the house maintenance or maybe not feeling as safe living at home, these can also be conversation starters.

Next, you’ll want to be clear on what you’re hoping to achieve. This should be their choice to make, whenever possible. But your overriding goal is to make sure your parents know that you want what is best for them.

Trying to convince them that where that happens is less important than the way it happens is part of the conversation. Review these 10 tips to help you prepare and begin the dialogue:

1. Don’t put the conversation off

Most families delay this conversation for as long as possible. But it’s so much easier to discuss what your parents would like to do before it’s needed. The earlier it occurs also removes the pressure to force a decision quickly.

2. Be prepared

This is not a conversation you want to have on a moment’s notice. Prepare beforehand, such as how you’ll broach the subject and what to do if it goes badly. There is a great deal of information online to help with your research.

3. Understand their position

Be empathetic. Put yourself in their shoes and role play in your mind how you would likely react if it were your children coming to you to have this conversation. What questions would you ask? How would you feel? What would your objections be?

4. Plan on more than one conversation.

Try to avoid information overload. Just bringing up the subject may be all that you and your family can handle the first time around. This is a serious and life-changing event. Try to outline what needs to be covered and then see if you can break it into manageable pieces.

5. Get everyone present

Try to have everyone involved present for the conversations. For those who can’t make it in person, you can use an online video chat. But make sure your parents don’t feel as if they’re being ganged up on. Starting off on the right foot makes it easier to move forward.

6. Make the decision together

Your parents should not only be included in the conversation but are ultimately the ones who should make the decision, whenever possible. Don’t go into the conversation having already decided what should happen or deliver the news as an edict.

7. Be a good listener

Ask what their concerns are or what they fear the most about leaving home and moving into Assisted Living. Are they confusing it with a nursing home? Come prepared with all the advantages of living in a community. You may be surprised to learn that they have been concerned about living alone but were keeping it to themselves.

8. Discuss all the options

Depending on their needs, are there other options that can help? Could bringing services into the home be a solution? Are there possibilities of someone moving into their home or of them living with one of their children? Choices can make the decision easier to make.

9. Schedule in-person community visits

Sometimes actually seeing a place firsthand can make all the difference. Give them the chance to see what communities are really like today, including the privacy, engaging activities, dining and socializing. Be sure to tell them this is for fact-finding only. There will be no pressure to sign-up.

10. Let them know it can help you

Letting your parent know how much this move would help you worry less often can convince them that this is the best decision. Just knowing they are living where there is help in a moment’s notice could improve the quality of life for everyone involved.

Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge Assisted Living community

At Westminster at Lake Ridge, we understand having this conversation can be difficult. There is likely apprehension and anxiety in even thinking about bringing up the subject. Perhaps you’ve tried and it didn’t go well or you keep postponing the conversation.

But we also know the benefits of assisted living and daily see how it can improve the quality of life for both your loved ones and your family. We’d love to share with all of you the advantages and benefits you’ll find at Westminster at Lake Ridge. Our programs, amenities and compassionate and well-trained staff are all designed to help support an engaged and empowered life.

Call (703)794-4631 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.

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