How to Talk to a Parent About Assisted Living
It’s a delicate issue: how to convince a parent to consider an assisted living community in Richardson, TX. Many of us value our independence, and some people fear that the transition will rob them of theirs – even when the move usually enhances independence. There are ways, however, to engage this conversation from a place of compassion and shared values.
About 70% of Americans over age 65 will need some form of long-term health assistance. Even if your parent may not require this assistance now, it may be easier to initiate the conversation before it’s necessary. We find that the more people know about the communities, the more positive they become about making the transition when they’re ready.
Begin by understanding your parent’s concerns and priorities. They may say that they value privacy and friendships; they may say that they enjoy having a comfortable home of their own. All of these things are available in an assisted living community, and understanding these priorities can help you frame the conversation in the most productive, compassionate way possible. Even if you have different thoughts, it’s helpful to acknowledge similar goals: to find a living situation for your parent to achieve maximum independence and happiness while receiving the support they need.
Here are some strategies to help the talk go smoothly:
Find the Right Time to Talk
Discuss the move before a medical emergency occurs. Create an opportunity for a calm, open discussion when a move isn’t imminent. That way, you can tackle the issues spurred by this life change: downsizing, finding a community that’s a good fit, making a budget and gathering medical information. Broaching the topic in advance gives your parents time to plan and gives them space to decide.
If your loved one has fallen, can’t do errands or housekeeping, it’s time to talk. The conversation can flow organically from the problem to the solution. You want them to realize a change is needed, and it can offer them greater satisfaction, safety and ease.
Promote the Positive
Emphasize the positive aspects. Your parent can finally ditch the lawnmower! Household repairs become someone else’s problem! Someone else makes dinner – and does the dishes! Accentuate how it can give your parent time for them to spend how they wish – it’s about adding options, not subtracting them. Medical care and daily support will become much more convenient.
But there’s more than the convenience factor. These communities go well beyond basic needs, but they also offer a wide range of entertainment, cultural events and exercise classes, including:
- Restaurant-style, chef-prepared meals
- Game rooms, gardens and beauty salons
- Transportation to local events
- Landscaped grounds and trails for scenic walks
- Wellness and exercise programs
Your parent may not realize how many services and amenities a community can offer them. Pointing out the exciting new opportunities may motivate them to make the change.
Empathize and Listen
Empathetic listening is the most essential factor of a productive, compassionate conversation. It helps to listen to the other’s viewpoint without interrupting, then repeats back what you heard to verify that you understood correctly.
During the subsequent conversation, include questions that cover some of the topics your parent raised. These may consist of conversation starters like:
- Have you felt safe living at home alone? Are you worried about taking the right dose of medication or slipping in the tub?
- Would you like the opportunity to meet new friends?
- Is it a struggle to keep up with your bills and manage finances?
- Would you have more freedom if you didn’t have to worry about home maintenance?
- Wouldn’t it be nice to have a helping hand nearby?
Your parent may resist the move for reasons you didn’t expect: worries about their cat or where to store their collection of model cars. They may be troubled about a loss of privacy or the cost. These concerns are easily addressed — there are private assisted living apartments, pet-friendly communities and available financial assistance. But they’ll feel better if you listen and understand without minimizing their concerns.
Take the Grand Tour
If your family member is willing, take time and drive around to visit the communities offered in Richardson, TX. If a community doesn’t allow in-person tours during COVID-19 restrictions, look at websites. Many offer photo and video tours of their property. Many people have outdated views of what a community looks and feels like, and getting a visual is the most comforting way to ease concerns.
Your parent may expect a hospital-like environment and be pleasantly surprised to find assisted-living communities are much closer to a resort-like environment! A quality community emphasizes holistic health — physical, mental and spiritual. It fosters independence by providing support, so your loved one can venture out. It tailors living arrangements, costs and programs to meet each person’s needs. And all of this occurs in a beautifully designed setting, filled with thoughtful touches.
Don’t be afraid to use assisted living team members as a resource. They can answer questions while making a warm connection with your parent.
Anticipate the Logistics
At home, parents are surrounded by a lifetimes’ worth of memories. So if you think your parent may feel overwhelmed at the very idea of moving, create a detailed plan of topics you should cover with them to put them at ease. A plan may make the logistics of a move seem much more feasible, and it lets them know you’ll be there to help with the transition. The plan could include:
- Assuring them that the move helps them preserve their independence, not restrict it
- Sharing brochures and websites about the communities in the Texas area
- Researching financial options that can make the move affordable
- Explaining that while aging in place has worked so far, it’s important to look ahead to remain comfortable and safe
- Discussing the tasks they won’t have to worry about, including meal prep, home maintenance or traveling for necessities
- Listing amenities and services they’ll enjoy
- If appropriate, talking to their doctor to enlist support for the move
- Depending on your family dynamics, inviting other family members to discuss as a group
Assisted Living Community in Texas
If you’re looking for assisted living in Texas, consider The Monarch at Richardson. Our serene grounds and spacious living areas are the backdrops for a wide range of activities to enjoy. Our social programs promote deep connections while our staff takes care of everything from housekeeping to health monitoring. We provide skilled, personalized help for those with physical challenges so they can live life to its fullest.
If you have any questions about our community, please contact us to learn more.