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How to Have the “Assisted Living Talk”

Is your loved one’s health starting to decline? As children, we all hold in common the belief that our parents will live forever. As we all grow older, we come closer to the inescapable truth that our senior parents may be better off in the care of someone else. It’s also normal for the children to come to this realization before their elderly parents who are usually creatures of habit. The decision to move a loved one into a senior community can be tough for everyone involved, but there are ways to relieve tension around the “assisted living talk.” In this article, our team of caregivers at Lester Senior Living in NJ will provide some tips on how to best approach the idea of assisted living with your senior parents.

Choose the right time and place. Bringing up the topic of assisted living requires sensitivity and understanding. Choose a time when both you and your parents are relaxed and in a good state of mind. Avoid discussing it during moments of stress or immediately after a health scare. Find a private and comfortable space, perhaps in mom and dad’s living room, where everyone can have an open and honest conversation without distractions. Make sure TVs are off and phones are put away for this one. 

Educate yourself about senior living options. Before starting the conversation, do thorough research about different senior living options available in your area. Familiarize yourself with the services, amenities, and costs associated with each option. And if you are unable to retrieve all of this information online, call each community for more details. This will enable you to answer any questions or concerns your parents may have during the discussion. Being well-informed shows that you are taking their needs into consideration and helps build more trust.

Approach the topic with empathy. Acknowledging that this is a difficult conversation for everyone involved is a great place to start. From there, express your love and concern for your parents’ well-being. Use “I” statements to describe your observations and feelings, avoiding language that may come across as accusatory. Emphasize that the decision to explore assisted living is not about abandoning them, but rather ensuring their safety, health and well-being.

Highlight the benefits of assisted living. When discussing the move into an assisted living community, focus on the positive aspects it offers. Highlight the benefits such as direct access to professional care, assistance with daily activities, and socialization opportunities. Emphasize that senior living communities are designed to enhance their quality of life, not hinder it. Don’t forget to mention that they’ll actually have some fun! Senior living communities like ours in Whippany, have a lively social calendar that is updated monthly with activities like Zumba Gold classes, The “Knit Wits” knitting club, mahjong lessons, movie matinees and Tai Chi – to name a few of the many available. 

Involve them in the decision-making process. Empower your parents by involving them in each step. Ask for their input and preferences regarding the type of community they would be interested in, the location, and the amenities that matter most to them. Better yet, schedule in-person tours with each contender and have mom and dad experience all the communities for themselves. Touring the community beforehand will give your loved ones a feel for what life could be like there. It could also help answer some questions and ease concerns that they have on the backburner. This involvement helps them maintain a sense of control and autonomy, which is a top priority for older adults.

Offer a trial period. If your parents are hesitant, suggest a trial period in an assisted living community – also known as respite care. This allows them to experience firsthand the benefits and support available. Many communities offer short-term stays through respite care, which can help alleviate any concerns or apprehensions they may have. Assure your loved ones that you will revisit the decision if they are truly unhappy or dissatisfied after the trial period.

Lively Senior Community in Morris County NJ

Having the “assisted living talk” with your senior parents is never easy, but it is a necessary step to ensure their well-being. Remember to approach the conversation with compassion and really focus on how a community can better address their needs and wants. The goal is to provide your loved ones with the best care and support, while also preserving their dignity and independence. Luckily, you can do just that at Lester Senior Living. At our assisted living community in Morris County, we have caregivers on-site day and night to ensure each resident has the support they need with ADLs like getting dressed in the morning, managing their medications and cleaning up their living spaces. On top of quality care, we have a lively group of residents here who love to get together for meals and weekly activities. We even offer off-site trips to local shopping centers, libraries and event centers. 

To learn more about our lively senior community in Morris County, please give us a call or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/