If a loved one is struggling to live on its own and is not able to take care of itself like it used to, it can open the door to a discussion about the need for additional care, or even a move to an assisted living facility.
Having “the talk” can be difficult, because it’s an emotional topic. Here are six tips that you should consider before discussing it with your senior loved one.
Be prepared ahead of time. Do your research and consider your options before the conversation takes place so you can provide thorough information and if your parents or loved ones are willing to look at a brochure, website, video or even a virtual tour, you’ll have the materials at hand.
First, discuss the matter with your siblings. If you’re not an only child, the best idea is to make sure you and all your siblings can agree on the topic, before bringing it up with your parents. If things are heating up, an unbiased third party can be helpful to find a resolution.
Choose the best moment. Bring the topic up when you and your family are rested and feeling well. The best moment will be when everyone is happy and relaxed.
It’s also a good idea to have “the talk” when there’s a network of family or friends available, and they are ready to have an open and respectful dialogue.
Present options with positivity. Using a positive language and tone can help setting and the direction of the conversation.
When speaking about assisted living, use non-threatening words. For example, you can refer to assisted living as a “community” rather than a facility.
Make a special effort to speak in a quiet and pleasant tone, always being respectful.
Remember that they might feel scared and this can lead to anger. That’s why it is so important to listen, validate their feelings and never react with more anger.
Recognize the reason behind.
If your senior loved one is being reluctant and insisting on staying at home, ask questions and listen carefully to determine what’s the real reason behind it.
Elders may think that this will change their relationship with family members, or that they’ll lose their privacy and independence.
Keeping this in mind will help you to clarify these points and emphasize how assisted living can help extend a senior’s independence, improve their social life and provide assistance with daily living chores like housekeeping, laundry and meals.
Revisit the subject.
Don’t be frustrated if you don't make a decision instantly. Many families find that they’ll need more than one conversation to absorb the information and make a decision.
Parents are less likely to agree if they feel that their kids are rushing to make a decision without taking them into account.
Discuss the future in a non-threatening, hypothetical way where everyone’s opinions can be heard, but nothing needs to be acted on immediately.
If you begin the process early enough, you and your family members will be at ease, ready for a new and happy chapter in your parent’s life.