Some families are so nervous to talk with a family member about moving into assisted living that they put off the conversation for much longer than they should. In fact, a study by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services found that many Americans never talk about or plan for long-term care at all until they absolutely need to.
Remember that the conversation is important for your loved one’s health, safety and emotional well-being, and having it is the best way to care for them. If you’re thinking about talking with your family member about moving into assisted living, here are some tips to make it a little easier.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
If lines of communication are open, it’s much easier to have an open conversation about moving into assisted living. Start talking with your family member as early as possible about their long-term care wishes. If you’re talking about options years before the care is absolutely necessary, the topic may be less emotionally charged. You may also be able to discuss financial planning, care for pets and other important concerns early enough to take the best possible actions.
Of course, not everyone has the luxury of starting the conversation years in advance. No matter where you are in your journey, you can keep communication open by listening to your loved one’s concerns. Try to hear what they are saying without judgment and avoid dragging past issues, like family tensions, into the assisted living conversation.
Include Everyone in the Assisted Living Conversation
When it’s time to have the conversation about moving into an assisted living facility, make sure that all the important people are included. You might want to plan for a time when all siblings are together, or when trusted family friends and caregivers are available. Sometimes, it’s helpful to get your family member’s doctor involved in the discussion.
If not everyone can be together in the same room, technology makes it relatively easy to have a conference call or a video chat.
Approach the Conversation With Understanding
Transitioning to out-of-home care can be difficult for aging loved ones who are used to be able to care for themselves and others. So, have empathy as you have the conversation. Make sure that your loved one knows you are on their side and that you want the best for them.
Choose your words and message carefully. Talk about the benefits, like how moving to assisted living surrounds your loved one with a caring community or how it gives them access to many conveniences that make life easier. Hopefully, your loved one will see the benefits, too.
Prepare for the Talk
Before you sit down to the conversation, make sure you educate yourself about your options. Gather information on things like what assisted living facilities are and are not, different assisted living communities in your neighborhood, and ways that you can support a loved one through the transition.
At Rocky Mountain Assisted Living, we like to give people as much information as possible about the assisted living choice that they are making. We often recommend that families take a tour to see if one of our assisted living communities is a good fit for them. You can contact us to request more information or to schedule a tour.