As people age, they generally need more help in order to ensure their safety. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to completely give up independent living and the dignity they feel goes along with it. If your parents or other aging loved ones fall into this category, then it may be time to start looking into assisted living facilities. Compared to other kinds of eldercare facilities such as traditional nursing homes, assisted living facilities offer more personalization and freedom. Still, you might find that your parents aren’t thrilled with the idea of moving. Here are five ways to make talking about assisted living options a little bit easier:
- Plant the Seed Early
Bring the issue up indirectly early on and don’t press it. This might involve just mentioning a mutual friend or a family member who has recently moved to a senior housing facility and is thriving there.
- Bridge to the Idea
Instead of jumping straight to the idea of moving, you can bring up the idea of getting more help with daily tasks. That way, when you do feel that it’s time to talk about assisted living directly, it will flow more naturally (this is actually a technique used in politics and public relations called “bridging”). Adjusting to the idea of hiring someone to clean out the gutters is an easier first step — and finding out that it’s nice to have more assistance will likely make your parents more receptive to continuing along that trend.
- Focus on Your Feelings
Instead of criticizing your parents or telling them that it’s unsafe to live alone, try to express your own concerns. So instead of saying “you have to move, you’ll hurt yourself trying to do that on your own,” say something along the lines of “I really worry about you having to do that on your own when I can’t be around.”
- Respond to Real Concerns
If your parents raise objections, make sure you’re really listening to and addressing them, rather than brushing them off. Offer to do more research to find out if any special concerns could be accommodated by a housing facility in your area; you may be able to alleviate the concerns altogether just by making a few phone calls.
- Maintain Your Roles
This is a discussion that may take place over the course of months or years, and it may be frustrating to see your loved ones’ condition deteriorate. But things will go better if you avoid role reversal; even if you take on the role of caretaker, you’re still the child and not the parent.
Have you started discussing senior housing options with your loved ones? Share in the comments where you are in the process.