As we get older, living independently can get harder. If your parents are beginning to struggle, it can be very difficult for both you and them. An assisted living facility can be the safest place for them to be, but elderly people won’t always like the idea of this. They might worry about losing independence or dignity, especially if they are already using an all-terrain mobility scooter, but you can help them to feel better about the idea.
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First, approach the topic in the right way. Don’t bring it up as though you have already made the decision for them. Instead, mention that there might be some options available to make their life easier and more fun.
Some spend time together researching assisted living centers like Aegis Living. Offer to take your parents for a visit to see what they like and don’t like about the options nearby. If they’re willing to go, this is great, but don’t push the subject if they’re not. Drop the subject and try again another day.
Use a teachable moment to encourage. If one of your parents has had a fall or is beginning to struggle with tasks like cooking or getting dressed, use this to gently raise the subject again. Point out how lucky they are that it wasn’t a bigger issue, and ask what they would do if things got worse or they were hurt in an accident. Don’t frighten them, but encourage them to consider who would look after them. This might encourage them to reconsider thinking about living somewhere where they would have access to more help. Go gentle, but a reality check could be a big help.
Try not to push too hard. While it’s important to get them the help they need, pushing too hard will have the opposite effect. Pick your moments. For example, if your mother is complaining that they don’t see their friends as often, or your father is unhappy with managing the garden at home, use this to gently broach the subject. This can help them to feel they are making this decision themselves and for the right reasons. If they’re in control, the process will be much smoother.
Ask your friends to see if anyone you know has an elderly relative who is doing well in a local assisted living community. Do your parents have friends who have already made the move themselves? Get these people to talk to your parents and tell them about the good parts of these communities. They can discuss their worries with someone who understands and can better put their minds at ease. Knowing someone in the facility can help too, as they will already know someone and find it much easier to make friends when they arrive.
If you can’t find a facility where they will already know someone, find somewhere that offers the sort of activities they enjoy. If they can settle in and get to know the other residents through cards, dance classes or a gardening club, they’re sure to settle in much faster.