Assisted living is a growing trend among aging baby boomers. It’s an affordable and accessible housing option that helps older adults remain independent while also addressing their needs as they age. The process of transitioning to assisted living is a complex one, especially for parents. They may be reluctant to give up their independence, or they may not know all the options available to them when it comes time to find a new residence.  It’s important to understand how your parents feel about it and what you can do to help them transition smoothly. It’s not an easy conversation to have, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Here are a few pointers on how to talk about assisted living with your parents so they can make informed decisions about their future.

How to talk about assisted living with your parents

Understand Your Parents’ Feelings

When it comes to a conversation like this, it’s important to recognize that your parents are likely feeling lots of different emotions. They may be afraid of losing their independence, or they may be feeling anxious about the future. They may also feel guilty about needing assistance at all, or they may simply not know where to start when it comes to making a decision about assisted living.  You can’t solve these problems with a simple conversation, but it can help to start with compassion and an open mind.  For example, if your parents are feeling pressure from their family members to make a decision, you want to remind them that this decision is entirely up to them. It’s also important to give them space to work through their feelings. Allow them to take their time as they try to get a clearer picture of what assisted living means for them.

Discuss Their Specific Preferences and Needs

Start with a discussion of the things they currently struggle with, and then work towards solutions. It’s also helpful to discuss their general lifestyle and preferences.  Does your mom prefer to have a large social network, or would she rather have a small and intimate environment?  Does your dad enjoy cooking, or would he prefer to have eating out be a regular part of his routine?  These things will help you and your parents come up with specific options that best fit their needs.  For example, if your mom would like to stay connected to her large social network, assisted living communities that offer regular social gatherings are a great option. If your dad enjoys cooking, assisted living communities with a shared kitchen may be a good fit for him.

Explain Assisted Living in a Positive Light

Assisted living is often a scary concept for parents, and that can make this conversation even more difficult. You want to explain assisted living in a positive light and in a way that doesn’t make it seem like a negative thing. You want to paint an accurate picture of what assisted living is and how it helps people.  You want to explain that assisted living is a service that offers help with the daily tasks that become more difficult as people age. For example, assisted living facilities can provide concierge services that offer assistance with routine tasks like grocery shopping, getting to doctor appointments, and paying bills.  They can also offer support with more difficult tasks like dressing, eating, and bathing. Assisted living facilities offer a network of medical professionals who can address any special needs your parents may have.

Address Your Parents’ Fears and Concerns

Now that you’ve discussed assisted living in a positive light, it’s important to address the fears and concerns your parents may have. It’s important to acknowledge their feelings and fears while also working to put them in perspective.  For example, if your parents are worried about losing their independence, you can remind them that assisted living is an option they can come and go as they please.  It’s also helpful to discuss what assisted living looks like and what types of services are available.  This will help you and your parents get a clearer picture of what it will be like, and it can help allay some of their fears.

Discuss What It Could Offer Them

Assisted living is designed to promote independence, but it can also offer safety and security. It’s important to remind your parents that assisted living facilities often employ safety protocols, and they can offer additional security, such as medical monitoring.  For example, residents are often monitored for things like blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood oxygen levels. This can help ensure that people are taking their medication as prescribed, which can help reduce the chance of falls and other injuries.  Assisted living also offers access to a network of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and physical and occupational therapists. These professionals can help your parents stay healthy and safe, and they can help them address any special needs they may have.

Show Your Parents Better Options With Gardens Care

Discussing late-life care options with your parents is never an easy conversation. However, you can make it easier by showing them the quality of their options. Start with Gardens Care. We focus on making your later years enjoyable while also getting the help that you need. Call us at 303-566-1085 to discuss your options.