It’s predicted that within ten years’ time, for the first time in human history, there will be more people over the age of 65 than children under five. Transition to Assisted Living is an important topic to discuss with your parents. There’s a greater chance that more people will have to cope with an aging parent who may, at some stage, need some form of assisted care. It’s a subject that many people, understandably, find difficult to discuss with their parents, not least of all because when the subject is broached, the proposal can sometimes be rejected by a parent who refuses to accept that he or she is no longer able to live independently.
Be Aware of Their Needs
When considering assisted living for your parent, it’s important to be sure that he needs it. While you may be concerned for his safety and well-being, it’s important that you don’t place your desires over and above his own. For example, if you are no longer able to visit as often as you once did, don’t jump to the conclusion that your parent won’t be able to cope on his own. First assess what he can and can’t do for himself. If you believe that he can no longer safely care for himself, for example, he can’t bathe or dress himself adequately, or shop for and prepare food, then it’s probably time to discuss with him the subject of his moving into an assisted living facility.
Reassure Their Reservations
Assisted living is typically residential care facilities that provide housing, meals, and personal care to those who are unable to live independently. But while you may feel that this type of care is appropriate for your parent, it’s understandable that she may have reservations about it. Your parent may be concerned that she will be placed in an institutionalized setting with little opportunity to organize and structure her day in the way she wants to. These are valid concerns that you will need to address in order to reassure your parent that assisted living won’t rob her of her independence, or involve her being shut away from other people. Some assisted living communities provide various levels of support, so your parent could at first be accommodated in a setting that’s as close to independent living as possible, while still receiving the care she needs, and then moved to a more supportive environment as her needs increase.
Try it Out First
Some assisted living providers offer short-term programs to enable people to see whether the community is suitable for them. If you find a suitable assisted living facility that offers such programs, your parent may be willing to undergo a short-stay program to see how it suits her. If she feels that she has some say in the choice of facility, then your parent may be more receptive to the idea of moving.
Choose a Familiar Surrounding
Your parent may also find the transition to assisted living a little easier if you’re able to choose somewhere that’s familiar to him. However, it’s more important that you’re satisfied the staff and residents of any facility are trustworthy than that its location is close to familiar surroundings.
Don’t Pressure Them
When discussing the issue of assisted living with your parent, try not to place any pressure on her. Don’t use statements such as, “You have to do this…. .” Let her know that while you can’t tell her how to live her life, you’re concerned for her health and well-being and want to provide the best care for her.
Make it a Positive Move
Once your parent is settled in his assisted living facility, try to banish any feelings of guilt you may have at having had to place him there. Remember that you’ve done what’s best for your parent, which is what’s most important. Also remember that assisted living can greatly improve the quality of a person’s life from a medical as well as a social perspective, and that there’s every chance your parent will thrive in his new community.