The ideal time to start talking to your parents about the possibilities of assisted living or another senior care living arrangement is well before they need assistance. A simple “Have you thought about what you want to be doing when you’re 70/80/90?” Do they really want to be taking care of the lawn and house that you grew up in?
Many older adults think they’ll live in their own home forever. And for some, that’s possible. For others, it’s not safe or practical. Get the conversation started now, regardless of how healthy and spry your parents are. It will save all of you stress in the long run. Having the conversation early also makes sense financially.
And if your parents are already showing signs that they may need the help and social interaction that assisted living provides, don’t delay. These signs can include forgetting to take medications, an increase in falls, weight loss (or gain), and lack of personal hygiene or lack of housekeeping.
Tips to Get the Conversation Started
Getting the conversation started doesn’t have to be difficult or daunting. Here are 3 tips to start talking and keep talking about assisted living and other senior care options.
1. Do Your Homework
By reading this article, you’re already starting to do your homework. Do more online research about how to know when it’s time to consider assisted living or other care situation. If your parents show any of the signs mentioned, that may be a way to open the conversation: “Mom or Dad, I noticed ________. I read this article about senior care, and I’d like to know what you think. I’d like to respect your wishes.”
You can share a printed version of the article, or email them a link. Make it clear that you’re not telling them what to do, but that you want to help them get where they want to be.
If you have siblings, talk to them as well. But whatever you do, don’t all gang up on your parents in one big family conversation. They will feel ambushed and pressured.
2. Let Your Parent(s) Take the Lead
Again, no one likes being forced into anything. Especially a parent who thinks of you as the child. If you’re lucky, they’ve already been thinking about assisted living vs in-home care, or started exploring senior living communities that include levels of living arrangements, from independent living all the way to skilled nursing care.
If not, explain that you’re having this conversation because you want to help them stay as independent and healthy for as long as possible, and having a plan is an important part of that.
3. Let Them Know Their Well-Being Is Your Top Priority
Let them know you love and care for them and their well-being, and that this conversation is all about them, and not about making your life easier. Explain that having this discussion now can help them protect their finances, and determine whether long-term care insurance is an option.
Let them know that assisted living care can also help them protect their health if they are having trouble remembering to take medications or are having increased falls.
4. Explore Their Options with Them
This is especially important if your parents are older and have any sort of cognitive decline or memory problems. You will want to visit assisted living facilities with them. And if they’re not tech savvy, you may need to do the initial research of facilities online.
Request brochures and other printed material for your parent to read over. If facilities don’t have printed material, consider printing out the text on their website. Again, let them take the lead in determining which facilities they are interested in.
You can help set up tours at the places they can see themselves living. Be sure to take a checklist with you to compare each facility. A Place for Mom is a good place to start looking for a checklist, and more information on what to look for in assisted living.
Schedule a Tour of Our Assisted Living Home
If you or your parents live in Maryland or southern Pennsylvania and you’re looking into assisted living, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a tour of Broad Creek Manor Assisted Living in Whiteford, MD. We’re convenient to the Baltimore area, as well as York and Lancaster counties in PA.
Our assisted living home is a smaller facility where we provide close care and assistance to your loved one. With a variety of rooms and a full slate of activities to choose from, this could be the ideal home away from home. Just fill out the contact form or call us at 410-452-0004 to schedule a tour.