How to Talk with Aging Family Members About Assisted Living

Recognizing it’s time to consider assisted living placement for your elderly loved one can bring up a lot of emotions. Beginning discussions about assisted living early enough that your loved one has enough say in the process can make it easier on both of you.

You can plan out what you want to say during your conversation, but stay mindful of the fact that it’s a conversation, not a monologue. Make sure to give your loved one time and space to voice their feelings and needs. Here are some tips for talking with your loved one about making the transition into assisted living.

Be Upfront About Your Concerns

You and other family members should start by making a list of your concerns regarding your loved one’s health, mobility, and safety in their home.

Talk together about the best way to bring up these concerns without making your loved one feel like they are under attack.

You don’t want your loved one to feel like you’re questioning their decision making capabilities, attacking their independence, or telling them they aren’t a valued member of the family.

If you have many concerns, try bringing up your top two or three in your initial conversation.

Prepare for Multiple Conversations

Depending on how receptive your loved one is to your initial conversation, you may need to have several discussions about the matter.

You may need to ease your loved one into the idea, and that could take two or three conversations. You don’t want to make your loved one feel like the decision is being forced on them.

Just like you had time to prepare to have this conversation, you should also give your loved one time to react to it. They may have ideas or concerns they want to bring up as well.

Start Talking About Assisted Living as Early as Possible

It’s easier to start talking about assisted living placement long before your loved one needs it. This way, your loved one will have the opportunity to discuss their needs, goals, and desires before emotions get in the way.

If your loved one needs Alzheimer’s care or memory care, they may not have the clarity needed to participate in a discussion. Getting a sense of their preferences ahead of time will help you make decisions for them when they aren’t able to anymore.

You will also have more of an opportunity to approach the conversation objectively, and avoid anyone becoming defensive.

Maintain Your Expectations

Don’t have any huge goals or clearly defined expectations from your first conversation about assisted living. The conversation might not go according to plan, and it will be easier to stay patient and control your emotions if you manage your expectations ahead of time.

A successful conversation is one in which all parties have a chance to share their ideas, concerns, values, goals, and opinions. Everyone should feel heard, represented, and respected during these conversations.

Rein in Your Emotions

In order to help your loved one feel calm and comfortable during discussions about assisted living, you should try to rein in your own emotions.

If your loved one sees you becoming upset, angry, defensive, or frustrated, it could derail the conversation. You don’t want your loved one to have to worry about your feelings when you’re having a conversation about their future.

Make Space for Your Loved One’s Feelings

Be sure to make space for your loved one’s feelings throughout your discussion. Your loved one should feel comfortable voicing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions without fear of being minimized or silenced.

Try checking in with your loved one during the conversation to ask how they are feeling. Make sure to ask questions that show that you respect the emotional nature of your conversation.

Focus on Your Loved One’s Needs

Another way to make sure your loved one feels heard during the conversation is to keep it focused on their needs. Consider your family dynamic and individual communication styles before you bring up the topic of assisted living.

If the conversation veers off course or gets too emotional, suggest that everyone take a break and you’ll revisit the topic another time. You don’t want your loved one to feel bullied into transitioning into assisted living.

Make sure your loved one’s needs are centered, and check in with them regularly to ask them about their goals and desires.

Talk About the Benefits of Assisted Living

If you take the time to talk to your loved one about the benefits of assisted living, they may slowly come around to the idea. You can start looking at facilities before you even talk to your loved one, but don’t pick an assisted living facility for them.

Let them have a say in which facility they would prefer. Schedule tours, and take the time to learn about what amenities each facility offers. Discuss the social opportunities, spiritual or religious services they offer, and the medical and safety benefits.

Discuss Next Steps

When your conversation reaches an end point, discuss the next steps with your loved one. You can agree to revisit the topic at a later date, or start looking at assisted living facilities over the next few months.

Your loved one should feel like they still have some control over their life and where they live. Don’t make them feel like there is only one option for them.

Get Advice or Assistance From a Professional

You can always get advice or assistance from a professional before or after you have the conversation with your loved one. Your community should have senior services with social workers or counselors who can provide educational material and give you advice on easing your loved one’s transition into assisted living.

Keep These ‘Don’ts’ in Mind

In addition to all of the tips we’ve provided, you should take note of these ‘don’ts’ as well. When having conversations about assisted living with your loved one, don’t:

  • Talk over or interrupt them
  • Dismiss or invalidate their feelings or concerns
  • Minimize their anxiety
  • Become argumentative or defensive
  • Be judgmental
  • Act like you have all the answers
  • Go into the talk unprepared
  • Act like they don’t have options or a choice
  • Let your emotions or impatience take over the conversation

Are You Considering Assisted Living in Tucson, AZ?

If you think your loved one is ready to transition into an assisted living facility, our team at Placita In Home Services can help. We offer in-home care services and elder care services, but sometimes in-home care isn’t enough.

We offer free assisted living placement services to help you find a comfortable, safe, and affordable assisted living facility for your loved one. We will meet with you to discuss your loved one’s needs, health, and financial situation so we can provide personalized recommendations for assisted living services.

We work with local assisted living Alzheimer’s care, assisted living dementia care, assisted living joint replacement care, and assisted living hospice care facilities. Call us today or fill out our contact form online to schedule a consultation for assisted living placement services.