Have you finally gotten to the point where you can openly admit that being a primary caregiver to your aging parent is getting too hard? That’s a sign it’s time to start the conversation about assisted living.
Talking to an aging parent about their future health needs can seem intimidating, but you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you’re in good company. Nearly 40.4 million people are caring for an aging loved one in the U.S. And that number continues to grow year after year.
But how do you start a conversation about getting your loved one some help without hurting their feelings or causing an argument? Develop a solid plan, do your research, and be ready for any pushback before you sit down to have the talk.
The best conversation you can have with your parent is one that will uncover their wants, needs and fears. By knowing exactly what your loved one is looking for in the future and by truly listening to them, they will feel engaged in the process and be more open to what you have to say.
Use these tools to prepare for the initial conversation.
1. Take notes before sitting down to talk.
Having this conversation may not be an easy task. You may feel nervous and flustered approaching your loved one, especially if they aren’t expecting it. By doing preliminary research into assisted living communities, you can come to the table knowledgeable and ready to answer your parent’s questions. Make a list of things you definitely want to address, have a list of common questions and answers on-hand, and have a few resources pegged where you can get answers that you may have to look up during the conversation.
2. Be prepared to address common objections about assisted living communities.
Your loved only knows what they’ve heard from other people or seen on television. It’s your job to help them understand that assisted living is an important part of securing assistance if and when health issues occur in the future. It’s not something you have to discuss after they have an issue. In fact, by planning ahead they can play a bigger role in the decision-making process.
3. Make it an ongoing discussion.
More than likely, you will have to have the conversation multiple times before it really sinks in. It is common for your loved one to come up with more questions or concerns, so you should prepare to have this discussion multiple times.
4. Schedule tours at a couple of local assisted living communities.
One of the best ways to put your loved one at ease and to answer any of their objections is by taking them on a tour of local assisted living communities. Tour the grounds, explore the apartments and participate in some of the planned activities or amenities. This will help relieve fears and highlight some of the major benefits of this type of living arrangement.
5. Choose your words carefully.
You never want to make your loved one feel as though a decision has already been made. The goal is to include them in the process, address their concerns and have an open discussion about their options. Avoid using words that have negative connotations or that make it sound like they are in any way a nuisance or burden to you. Reassure them that the goal is to get them the help they need exactly when they need it, while also giving you more time to work on your relationship.
St. Joseph of the Pines offers a full continuum of care for residents. That means, we offer a comprehensive range of services, amenities, and activities for your loved one to explore now and as their needs change in the future. With a variety of living options and floor plans, you can find something that is perfectly tailored to your loved one’s needs and wants in an assisted living community. Bring your loved one to visit us in person. Schedule a tour of The Coventry to see if our community feels like home. Contact us today.