Knowing When to Transition to Assisted Living Is A Difficult Decision
Most people want to age in place. Unfortunately, as much as an elderly relative wants to stay home, it may not always be possible. Whether they have to move to assisted living because they can no longer stay at home safely or because the caregiving tasks are too great for local family, there are ways to make the transition easier.
If you are still in the early decision-making stage, you can start slowly by helping your aging parent declutter to prepare for downsizing. Be sure to save some of the special treasures to make their new home feel more home-y.
If your parent or other family members are resistant to the idea, involving everyone in the decision making process can help. You can all tour facilities together or crunch the numbers together. If your parent needs 24 hour care, it may not be financially feasible for them to age in place.
In the worst case scenario, if your parent is extremely resistant, you may have to allow them to hit rock bottom. They may need to have their power turned off because they forgot to pay their bills. They may have to suffer a fall. Hopefully, they don’t have to experience something catastrophic. I had a client who refused to use a walker or wear a life alert. She fell in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom and broke her hip. She had to stay on the floor in the hallway for several hours before her cleaning lady found her.
Tips for Making A Move to Assisted Living Easier
- Pick the right community for your parent. Some people are looking for a strong social connection while others are introverts and need a community with a less active social scene.
- Get a floor plan to help you decide what pieces to keep and what pieces to share with family or donate to others.
- Buy a new special piece together to make their new home feel like home.
- Stock the kitchen with their favorite snacks. They will have meals taken care of, but having some favorite snacks that they can access whenever they are hungry goes a long way. Your parent may not want to get up early to have breakfast in the dining room. Have some easy, non-perishable items available for them. You can also stock fresh fruit in their room as a healthy alternative.
- Make their kitchen feel personal with some of their own special items.
What Not To Say To An Elderly Family Member
Discussing a move to assisted living is fraught with emotion. Most seniors don’t want to leave their homes to move into an assisted living facility.
Even if they agree to make them move, there are some things you should NOT say to your aging parent about the move.
- Just trust me. I’m making the right decision for you.
- It will be a lot more fun than living alone.
- You’ll get used to it.
- Change is good.
- Before long, it’ll feel just like home.
- You’ll meet friends your own age.
Instead, just listen to their concerns and acknowledge them. Moving to a new place is hard, especially if you are being forced into the move. This type of move is especially difficult since they are going from independent living to communal living. Try going back to your college dorm. Imagine how that would feel after living on your own for a few decades. This will be 10 times more challenging.
While the transition can be difficult, know that this ultimately is the best thing for your aging parent and your family. They may ultimately end up happy to be there. I know many people who were resistant to moving into assisted living and ended up enjoying the experience.