Elderly assisted living: when and how to start the conversation
Moving a chronically ill, bed-ridden or severely cognitively impaired loved one into a senior living situation is one thing. But approaching the conversation about adult assisted living when your loved one is still alert and fairly active can be emotionally overwhelming. No one wants to disrupt the status quo or unnecessarily question a loved one’s ability to function independently, so small concerns often go unspoken until a crisis situation forces the subject.
To allow you and your loved one enough time to research and make an informed decision, we recommend you start the conversation about elderly senior day center before it becomes an undeniable issue. Here are some pointers to help you breach the subject in a loving, beneficial way.
Start the Conversation When the Move is Still a Long Way Off
Whenever possible, it’s ideal to begin inquiring about your parent’s long-term care desires when it’s still years before it will become an issue. If your older loved ones still enjoy a healthy, vibrant life, they’ll be more likely to accept your questions as a matter of curiosity.
Talk about Other Seniors in Elderly Assisted Living
If your loved one resists the topic of adult assisted living, you can try to get an idea of his wishes by talking about others in senior living situations. Something as simple as watching a movie (try The Notebook, Driving Miss Daisy, Cocoon, Fried Green Tomatoes or Say Anything) that involves elderly assisted living can spur conversation that might illuminate your loved one’s views on the matter.
Ask What Types of Environments They Enjoy
You can find a wealth of information to inform your pursuit apart from the topic of adult assisted living. Start a conversation about crowded places and quiet solitude to see if he’d prefer a smaller, home-based program or a larger, more socially focused facility. If he is at all inclined, you could take personality quizzes or inventories together and talk about the results.
Focus on the Positives
Some seniors resist the adult assisted living because they think of it as being cared for by strangers in an unfamiliar environment. Others embrace the idea because they view it as an efficient way of life that offers superior social opportunity. Do your best to talk up the positive aspects of long-term care.
Be Open to Providing Home Care if At All Possible
Put yourself in your loved one’s shoes for a moment. Would you feel comfortable relocating to an elderly assisted living facility if you knew your son had the resources to care for you at his home? For many, caregiving is a burden beyond reasonable expectation because of economic, work or family circumstances. For others, it is a viable option. Having an open mind yourself is the best way to help your loved one keep an open mind as well.
Show Her What Adult Assisted Living Really Looks Like
Some seniors shy away from conversations about adult assisted living because of incorrect assumptions they make about it. The stigma of the institutionalized, smelly nursing home can be broken by a couple visits to well-appointed elderly assisted living facilities in a location and setting your loved one is drawn to.
Some situations require additional help from trained professionals. If your loved one refuses to get the help you know she needs, you may need to see a counselor, visit a geriatric care specialist, or join a support group where you can share camaraderie and get ideas. When your loved one’s safety is at stake, don’t let old fears, arguments or patterns keep you from giving the help you know she needs.