Do you have aging parents who need an assisted living facility?
If so, you’re not alone. A large portion of the population is aging, and older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.
As the population gets older, more and more people will be transitioning into assisted living. But no one wants to admit that they’re getting older, and parents might be resistant to the idea of giving up some independence.
We knowing starting conversations about the future can be extremely difficult, so keep reading to learn some helpful tips about how to get parents into assisted living.
How To Get Parents Into Assisted Living
Transitioning your aging parents from being fully independent to living in a retirement community is never an easy process. But there are some things you can do, and essential conversations to have, that will make this massive life change a little easier on both of you.
If you’re still feeling confused and uneasy about how to get parents into assisted living, here are eight tips that help make the process a little bit smoother.
1. Put Yourself In Their Shoes
The best thing you can do for aging parents is to show empathy. You don’t know what it’s like to need an assisted living facility, but you might someday, so you should treat your parents the way you would want to be treated.
Understand how difficult it is to accept that you’re aging and can’t live your life the way you used to. They might push back and have difficulty with the transition, but these are all understandable and common emotions to feel.
Feeling empathetic towards their situation will make them more willing to work with you, and will cause less stress for everyone.
2. Do a Lot of Research on Potential Housing Options
Finding the right assisted living center takes a while and should involve a lot of research. Don’t pick the facility that gives you the best price or the one that claims to have the best ratings.
Ask around for personal recommendations from friends or other family members. If you don’t know anyone in a similar situation, read plenty of reviews from others that have lived at the facilities.
Make a list of amenities and resources that the assisted living center must have. For example, if your parent has dementia, you’ll need a center that specializes in memory care.
Also, keep in mind what hobbies your parents enjoy doing. For example, if they like to stay active, make sure the facility offers fitness classes or a way for them to exercise regularly. You’ll want their assisted living center to feel as close to their old life as possible, so they can try and keep a routine that feels natural for them.
After you’ve narrowed down a list, make sure you tour each facility and ask questions specific to your parent’s unique needs. Try and bring your parents along as well, so you can determine if they’ll feel comfortable living there.
3. Start The Discussion Early
No one wants to feel like they’re being forced into a situation. Try and start talking about the future as early as possible. Ask your parents if they’re comfortable with assisted living, and have other family members give words of support about the idea.
Everyone wants to feel prepared for the future, so sit down with your parents and be honest. Tell them that you want their future to be an ongoing discussion, so they don’t feel like people are making important decisions for them.
4. Present Their Options in a Positive Way
Staying positive throughout this transition is the key to success. Whenever you discuss assisted living options with your parents, focus on what they’ll gain from the move, rather than what they’ll lose.
Mention how they’ll get to socialize with people their age who have similar interests. Focus on the great amenities they’ll have at their new facility, and how they’ll have access to excellent healthcare whenever they need it.
5. Keep Your Parents Involved In The Process
Everyone wants a say in what happens to them in the future. Keep your parents as involved in the process as you possibly can. Of course, if they’re older and already very sick, this might not be possible. But if they’re able to give you feedback, make sure you consider it.
Before you start researching potential centers, sit down and ask them for a wish list. What amenities would they like to see? What do they enjoy doing every day? All of these things will be helpful when you have to start narrowing down facilities.
6. Determine What You Can Afford
Quality assisted living centers are an investment, so you need to make sure you have a plan in place to pay for care. You’ll also need to assess your parent’s current health level and think of what-if scenarios.
Are they comfortable with selling their home to help pay for care? What will happen to your other parent when one of them dies? Will the other parent want to change facilities? These are all questions you’ll need to ask to determine how long they’ll be in the assisted living facility and what you can afford.
7. Decide Where Your Parents Will Live
Not everyone lives next door to their parents, so it’s essential to decide where your parents will be happiest.
Do you want to relocate them to an assisted living facility in Florida so they can enjoy warm weather all year? Or is their health deteriorating and you would rather they be close to your home? Ask yourself these questions when you start looking for a facility and ask your parents where they would feel most comfortable.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Professional Help
Major life transitions are never easy, so don’t be afraid to get a professional opinion from a doctor or psychologist. Parents can be resistant to assisted living, so they might be more willing to move if a doctor recommends it for them.
A psychologist, or anyone who leads group therapy, can be a good mediator between you and your parents if you can’t agree on future plans.
Learn More About Caring For Aging Parents
Now that you know how to get parents into assisted living, you probably still have a lot of questions about caring for aging parents.
Watching your parents get older isn’t easy, but doing a lot of research and being prepared for the future is important. Check out the rest of our website for more helpful resources.