One of the most difficult things you may ever have to do is moving parents to assisted living homes when they may not be ready. Maybe Mom is having trouble navigating the stairs, or Dad is no longer able to cook for himself or bathe without help. Maybe you don’t live nearby, or your own life is so full that taking care of your parents full-time is impossible. Or maybe your parents have complex medical needs that you aren’t suited to deal with. No matter what the reason, you have decided you would sleep better at night if they were in a safer environment. But what if your parents want to stay put? several things you can try.
Moving Parents to Assisted Living: Several things you can try.
#1 Moving Parents to Assisted Living: Put yourself in their shoes.
It is not easy for someone to admit they need help. Most people have a strong desire to stay independent and active as long as possible. Recognize this and let your parents know that you understand the decision is not easy.
#2 Moving Parents to Assisted Living: Start early.
Broach the subject early, preferably when Mom is still okay living at home and a move is not imminent. It is always easier to have discussions when emotions aren’t running high. Ask her where she would like to age, and what other living options she would consider. If a friend moves into an assisted living home, offer to drive your mom over to visit so she can check things out.
#3 Moving Parents to Assisted Living: Blame yourself.
No matter how old your parents get, they still want to take care of you. So talk in terms of them helping you. “Dad, I have been so worried about you lately; I would feel much less stressed if you were getting the care you need.” Point out that you want your time together to be fun, and that a move will free you up to just enjoy each other.
#4 Moving Parents to Assisted Living: Find out why they don’t want to.
If you can find out the exact reason your parent doesn’t want to move, you can work with it. Maybe they don’t want to leave a beloved pet behind, so you look for a community that allows furry companions. Maybe they will miss the neighborhood, so you set up regular visits with neighbors in advance. Maybe they will miss their home and the memories they made there, so you assess whether finances will allow keeping the house for a period of time so they can visit.
#5 Moving Parents to Assisted Living: Point out the advantages.
No more yardwork, little or no housework, help with daily tasks, and a built-in community of other seniors are just a few of the benefits of moving to an assisted living community. Ask your parents to accompany you as you visit several pre-selected homes you think will suit them. If they are reluctant, reinforce that you are just asking them to look not make a commitment.
#6 Moving Parents to Assisted Living: Ask about trial options.
Some assisted living communities offer trial runs, allowing your loved one to spend a week in their new home before making a commitment. Ask Mom to do a trial as a favor to you, and assure her you will work with her to find a suitable home. During her trial stay, she may well find she enjoys the easy living style.
#7 Moving Parents to Assisted Living: Ask others to help.
If other friends or family members have made the move, ask them to talk with your parents and answer questions. If medical assistance is a primary reason for making the move, involve your parent’s doctor in your talks. Sometimes hearing the same idea from someone outside the family makes it easier to accept.
If your parent is very resistant, leave the subject for a bit. Sometimes a bit of time to think makes all the difference. Remind your parents that they likely took care of their parents as they aged. Similarly, you are trying to do the same, in the best way you know how.