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How to Talk to Your Parents About Assisted Living


“How do I have ‘The Talk’ with my parents about senior living options?” That’s one of the top queries experts hear regarding long-term elderly care. Understandably so, considering that this can be new and complicated territory to navigate, leading to emotional discussions and decisions.


Naturally, along the way, you, your loved ones, and other caregivers will find yourselves mulling over more uncertainties that arise. Below, we’re providing answers to our most frequently asked questions about discussing assisted living and other care possibilities with the seniors in your life. By reading through this guide and cooperating as a team, you’ll be well on your path to a positive outcome that pleases everyone involved.


1 - Why is it hard to discuss assisted living with my parents

First, you are not alone. Countless caregivers fear this subject for a variety of reasons. For example, they want to avoid:

  • Talking about things that make themselves or others uncomfortable.
  • Difficult conversations about age-related changes.
  • Loved ones’ possible, negative reactions and emotions – anger, sadness, defensiveness, etc.
  • Triggering potentially tricky and/or volatile family dynamics.
  • The failure to communicate their thoughts, concerns, and ideas constructively.


Do these obstacles look insurmountable to you? Begin with an understanding that by focusing on the situation productively, you are supporting the best quality of life for your aging loved ones.


2 - Why is it important to talk about long-term care with loved ones?

Although it’s human nature to steer clear of scary issues, doing that means crucial discussions often go, well, undiscussed.


As a matter of fact, according to shocking survey results from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, PBS reports that Americans are seriously unprepared for long-term care – and they haven’t even begun to chat about it, much less plan for it.


Surprisingly, Jennifer Agiesta, the Director of Polling for the Associated Press, says, “Very few people have arranged to pay for or even to think about their own needs. Most haven’t even taken the basic step of talking to family members about their preferences.”


Although the majority of older Americans may be in a troublesome state of denial, here’s the reality: “Approximately 70% of people turning age 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives.” That’s direct from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Additionally, with every year that passes, a senior’s chance of requiring care increases. Dodging the discussions around it could lead to dire consequences, the experts predict.


3 - Why do I feel guilty about moving my parents into senior living?

For some people, overcoming the guilt of placing loved ones in assisted living can be hard. Again, it’s reasonable to feel that way, but you really shouldn’t. Stick to the correct mindset that you’re offering them opportunities for a better life they might not have considered otherwise.


On the plus side, it shows that you’re already coming from a place of great empathy and that you likely understand their perspective on the matter. These elements should help equip you to handle it responsibly and respectfully.


4 - Why would my elderly parents refuse assisted living?

In speaking with your folks, recognize they could resist the idea, and for legitimate reasons, they may or may not explain. Being patient and understanding them can aid everyone. For instance:


They might not want to appear weak.

Who does? But cases in which seniors resist the transition from caregiver to care recipient, especially, can lead them to hide or deny lapses in physical or cognitive abilities. These changes could endanger your aging loved one’s health and well-being.


They might think you are trying to take away their independence.

Seniors have spent their lives being the ones in charge, not only attending to their own daily needs but also managing the daily needs of others. “Giving up” these tasks means more than their inability to do these things for themselves. This perceived role reversal may signify a larger, more delicate issue – a threatening, actual loss of control.


They’re attached to their current home, routine, and lifestyle.

We can all get set in our ways. Caregivers can boost their loved ones’ ongoing independence by seeking out beneficial adjustments to age-related changes, without sacrificing their preferences. If not the support of a senior living community, this can also mean anything from installing and teaching them about adaptive devices that help with daily tasks, to exploring resources for older adults, like transportation alternatives and meal delivery services.


Suggesting – and ensuring – that you can do it together will help him or her maintain a sense of strength, independence, control, and normalcy.


5 - How do I convince my parents to move to assisted living?

Don’t automatically assume your loved one needs or wants you to take over in challenging situations. As shown above, an initial rejection of this idea can come from several reasons. It shouldn’t be about telling or enforcing a particular next step. It should be about working through each concern and gently discussing why finding the right senior care solution can help them enjoy the lifestyle they love – and enrich their happiness, health, and longevity – as a team.


Be compassionate. Remember, someday you might also be in their shoes. And be prepared, by continuing to equip yourself with advice from experts, including Cardinal Bay’s Team. And if it becomes too overwhelming, even with siblings or other loved ones by your side, have a professional help you through the process. Be easy on yourselves, and be confident that you’ll reach the best outcome.


Count on a first-class senior living expert.

When you’re ready, bring our team into the conversation. We’re here to help you talk to your parents about senior living, and to provide guidance through every aspect of a move, so they can experience the most seamless transition possible. Together, you can come to discover Cardinal Bay’s resort-style independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities in Texas and Oklahoma. Tour our spirited, relationship-centered environment, where residents stay active and engaged, enjoying a wealth of stimulating activities and daily social interactions.


Be sure to tour the communities you like and speak with staff members and residents to guarantee you have all the vital information in hand to make the best decision. Subscribe to our blog.


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