Many of us are lucky to have our parents and older loved ones with us throughout our adult years. But as time goes by, we will all age and show signs of physical and mental changes. Some seniors may find it more difficult to do tasks such as working, driving, and moving around.
This could be a growing concern if you are living with older family members, making you feel the need to have potentially uncomfortable conversations about assisted living services.
Despite how unsettling the topic may feel, you should not avoid the subject. Before raising the topic, consider how you will handle the conversation itself with your elderly loved one. Some households may designate the head of the family to introduce this topic. Others choose family members who are the closest to the loved one in need.
Raising the issue of assisted living can be a sensitive topic that can cause stress and worry. However, with preparation, you can feel confident in discussing the topic and potentially arriving at an agreeable solution. Here are a few tips to help you to address the topic of assisted living with your loved ones.
Do your research
Take the time in advance to do proper qualitative research regarding assisted living and its amenities. Research several facilities in your desired locale and determine which services may be the best fit for your relative and their needs, such as special care for dementia. You should also compare and contrast the pros and cons of each provider to reach a better conclusion.
One essential factor is the safety and general wellbeing of your loved one. Research each provider’s safety and security policies and practices. Learn about the provider’s staff-to-resident ratio, the staff’s credentials, and the facility’s regular services and programs.
Consider the positive social stimulus and interaction that will benefit them. Look at the healthcare and lifestyle resources available from each provider.
Start the discussion it as early as possible
We recommend that you gently introduce the topic to your loved one in a calm and caring tone of voice. Ensure that the discussion focuses on your loved one’s wellbeing and the options best for their best interests. If needed, have the support of other family members during the conversation so that you can help each other with the final decision.
In some cases, your loved one might need additional time to consider their options and interests. Assure them that together you should work to agree on the best path forward in a reasonable timeframe.
Be empathetic to their point of view
Some seniors may consider assisted living an alarming alternative, a choice point that may cause them to be confused and potentially to negative emotions. Allow your loved one the time to think about the possibilities and alternatives or a few days after the discussion.
You must also consider how they may feel about the situation and what arrangement they would prefer. Understand and expect the potential for all involved parties to experience feelings of sadness and pain during this time.
Choose your words carefully
Difficult topics like assisted living may cause misunderstandings between both parties if not appropriately discussed calmly and logically. To help with this issue, try creating an outline of what you would like to discuss and deliver the message with compassion and clarity.
Create a comfortable environment for open communication that allows your loved ones to easily offer their feedback. Assure them that they are being heard.
Help them decide what is in their best interests
The topic of assisted living may potentially cause emotional distress for seniors and their family members. Yet certain health, financial, or general living conditions may make these conversations necessary for the sake of your loved one’s health and overall well-being.
Highlight the positive aspects of the potential assisted living arrangement you are considering. Focus on the ultimate quality of life that your loved one can have and the living environment that is healthiest, most comfortable, and most enjoyable for them.
About the Author
Tina Castro is an associate from Mountain Cove Care, a luxury senior care facility in Arizona. After working in hospice care for 3 years, she moved to Mountain Cove Care with a passion for advocating health and wellness to the community. In her spare time, she teaches yoga classes and goes on hiking trips.
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