Talking to a Loved One About Moving Into an Assisted Living Facility

You have realized for some time now that your elderly parent or relative is struggling to live independently. Maybe they keep forgetting to lock their door. Or maybe you see signs that they have constant falls. But how do you persuade them that they should move into an assisted living facility?

For many people, living in their home is the last bastion of independence. They see moving into an assisted living facility as giving up on life, accepting their mortality. Of course, this is not true. And yet you have a hard time finding the right words and the right arguments to allow your loved one to see all the benefits that accompany agreeing to this decision.

Here are a few helpful tips about making this process easier:

1. Get to an Agreement with Other Family Members

The process of moving an elderly loved one into an assisted living facility is easier when all the family members – especially your siblings – agree that this is the right choice. The elderly parent will definitely enlist the help of the adult child disagreeing to this decision. This may lead to legal actions, animosity and lead to nothing positive – especially for the frail elderly person.

Once everyone is on the same page, you can approach your elderly relative as a family group and explain that you worry about their safety and wish only the best for them.

2. Enlist a Trusted Person’s Help

When you discuss the option to move into an assisted living facility, bring with you someone your elderly relative trusts: a spiritual guide, their personal physician, a family friend who has a loved one in an assisted living facility, etc.

Your parent may suspect your reasons for making the recommendation. But they have no reason to suspect someone who has looked after their physical, mental or spiritual wellbeing for a long time.

3. Identify Friends Who Live in an Assisted Living Facility

Research has proved that socializing plays a role in improving the cognitive function in elderly persons. Thus, you should strive to identify one of your elderly relative’s friends who has already moved into an assisted living facility. If it meets your standards, then the best choice is to show your loved one that you are actually trying to reunite them with a dear friend.

Fear of the unknown is what makes many elderly persons refuse the transition to assisted living. With someone they know already there, this fear disappears, and so does their objection.

4. Adapt the Benefits to Suit Their Interests

You perceive the benefits of an assisted living facility in one way. But your elderly loved one may need different reasons to see the advantages of making the move. For example, if they complain about the noises the neighbors’ kids make, explain to them that the place where they will go to live is pleasant and quiet, and that hours of rest are carefully observed.

If they say that they miss playing a board game, tell them that they will meet other people of their age, who know how to play that game and enjoy it. 

5. Help Them Create a Timeline

One of the main reasons why an elderly parent resists the idea of moving into an assisted living facility is that they feel that they have no control over the decision. They feel that someone else planned everything behind their back. But there is a simple and effective way of changing this: let your elderly loved one plan the move.

Start working on a timeline, from the first visit to prospective facilities to the actual move. Give them time between each milestone, such as choosing the belongings they take with them, completing the sale of their home, etc. Make sure that this timeline is displayed visibly in a place that your loved one can see on a daily basis. This will help them feel in control.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Express Your Worry

It is not called emotional manipulation if you start telling your elderly parent that you worry about them. Do not be overly dramatic, but tell them that you often think if they are safe and doing alright. Explain that you want them in your life for as long as possible, and this is exactly why you believe they should move into an assisted living facility.

Old people fear being abandoned in this type of facility. Thus, tell them that the reason is the opposite – you want to be able to spend as much time as possible with them.

8. Take Them on Facility Tours

Few people know what an assisted living facility truly is. They imagine a sort of hospital room that they are not allowed to leave. Thus, the best way of helping your loved one understand what you are planning for them is taking them on facility tours. They will be able to see both the outdoors and indoors areas, meet other residents and talk to the staff.

This will definitely change their opinion and potentially even cause them to make the transition faster than you were planning.