Aging is a natural and inevitable part of life. It is very common for children of aging seniors to be concerned about their parents. This could be due to falls or other age-related challenges.
As your parents grow older, they may be open to the idea of moving to an assisted living facility. This will allow them to receive professional medical care and assistance as they age.
Here are 7 helpful steps for moving parents into assisted living. These should help you start the conversation with your parent. Then the transition to assisted living can go as smoothly as possible.
When to talk about moving your parents into assisted living
Ideally, the best time to speak with your parent about assisted living is before they actually need it. Open a dialogue with your parent about what care options they might need or want in the future. This can make it easier once the time comes.
Keep the initial discussion focused on their preferences. Ensure that they’re aware of all the options available in your area, whether it be home care, senior housing, assisted living, or a nursing home.
You can also discuss with them ahead of time potential warning signs that they may be having trouble managing alone and need more assistance.
Some signs that your loved one might be ready for a transition to assisted living include:
Trouble managing money or paying bills
Appearing lonely or depressed
Trouble with daily cooking or cleaning
Trouble managing medicines or a health condition
Needing assistance with dressing or bathing
At risk of falling or have had falls
When your parent does start to show signs of slowing down, they will expect the discussion about moving to assisted living. This will, hopefully, lead to it being better received.
7 Steps for moving parents into assisted living
Talking with your parent about moving into assisted living can be difficult. It often stirs up a lot of emotions for both yourself and your parent. Here are some steps you can take to make the transition as easy as possible.
1. Approach the discussion with love
Even if your parent knows they cannot manage at home the way they used to, making the transition to assisted living can still be hard. They may feel attached to their home environment or afraid that moving means giving up their independence.
Be gentle with your parent and focus on how they can benefit:
Freedom from tasks that have become difficult such as home maintenance
Increased socialization through shared meals and activities
Comfort knowing that their family is reassured about their safety
The ability to have many of their needs either onsite or with provided transportation
Remember that this is a difficult part of the aging process for your parent.
2. Give your parent time to process the idea
Giving your parents time to process the idea to move to an assisted living facility is a crucial step. It is not easy for people to change, especially seniors who are typically very comfortable with their way of living.
As a result, you should give your parents time to think over the idea. After all, they need time to accept that they are in a new season of life. Nothing is gained from rushing your parents. Instead, giving your parent at least a month to think about your proposal is usually a healthy amount of time to wait.
3. Research assisted living facilities
If you’re considering moving your parents into assisted living, you should research the nearby facilities. Keep in mind that types of assisted living facilities can vary. Some are more intimate Residential Care Facilities For The Elderly (RCFE), and some are large complexes owned by national corporations.
It can help to choose a residence that your parent knows, is in an area they are familiar with, or that someone they know has gone to. The goal is to make your parents feel as comfortable as possible. Moving them to a location they have some connection with can help to ease the transition and make them feel more at home.
Reach out to the facilities you are interested in and meet the staff. Ask for a tour. Make sure the staff are qualified to take care of your parents.
Once your parent is open to the idea of an assisted living facility, you can present options to them. We recommend offering three possible options for facilities to your parent.
If you only present one or two options, your parent may feel restricted in their choice. And if you give four or more options, it can be overwhelming and challenging to decide.
You likely know your parent better than anyone else. Therefore, keep in mind their preferences when researching potential living assisted facilities for your mom or dad. Some characteristics they may prefer include:
A tight-knit community
A particular style of housing
Certain activities offered on location or close by
It is essential that your parent feels like you are making this decision together. They need to feel ownership and a level of independence in the process. Presenting options to understand your parent’s preference is a great way to make sure they are happy with their move to an assisted living facility.
5. Help move and reduce possessions
This may be one of the more difficult steps when moving parents into assisted living. Many seniors tend to hold on to their possessions. When you help your parent move to an assisted living facility, you may have to help them sort through their belongings.
Often you must work with your parent to decide which belongings are worth bringing and which should be discarded. Be patient with your parent during this process. Many seniors feel very attached to their belongings, even if they don’t have a clear use for them or haven’t seen them for years.
For a parent with a large amount of belongings, you may want to consult the services of a senior move manager or downsizing consultant. These are specialists for hire who have experience helping people transition to a new living space after being in one place for many years.
6. Help them get acquainted
Once you’re done moving your parents into assisted living, it’s time to help them get settled in. Take the time to walk around the property with your parent since they may be uncomfortable in a new environment.
You can show them the amenities and make sure they know who to contact on the professional staff with any questions. Introduce them to any staff or residents you met when you first toured the property.
Just like many teenage children are nervous about moving off to college for the first time, many seniors are unsure when they move to a new assisted living facility. Helping your parent get familiar with their new surroundings is a great way to make sure they are happy with their assisted living facility.
7. Visit regularly
One of the biggest objections that seniors have to moving into assisted living is the fear of feeling forgotten by their family. Even though your parent may have a great community of other seniors to spend time with, be sure to visit your parent in their assisted living facility often.
Spending time with your elderly parent is a great way to help them increase their quality of life and live comfortably. Most seniors want nothing more than to enjoy time with their grandchildren and family members. As a result of visiting regularly, you can also reassure yourself that they are in the best hands.
Final thoughts on moving parents into assisted living
Moving a parent to an assisted living facility is not always an easy choice for a child to make. The process can be time-consuming and bring up many emotional discussions between an elderly parent and their child. But in the end, making sure your elderly parent can live comfortably and safely is one of the most important gifts a child can give their parent.
If you have questions about assisted living facilities or want help finding a home that is the right fit for your parent, reach out to our team at Parentis Health.
We have helped thousands of clients in our assisted living facilities and would be honored to help your elderly parent find the right home.