The best time to have the conversation with your parent about assisted living is before the question comes up. If you wait until the last minute, it will be that much harder to sort things out. Here are a few tips to help you plan and carry out a productive, drama-free conversation with your aging parent.
Have An Action Plan
Ask mom and dad what they think about senior living communities and what they want you to do if they can no longer live independently. It is also important to define what living independently means. Spend some time discussing the conditions under which they would consider moving to a senior community over living alone. Create an action plan to use if community living becomes inevitable.
Explore Home Health Care And Living At Home Assistance Programs
Some seniors can continue living at home with the services of a visiting nurse or with someone to help with the tasks of daily living. This will largely depend on the specific limits of their independent living abilities, but consulting with an assisted living provider can help you determine your best options.
Let The Situation Run Its Course
If your parent is of sound mind and determined to go it alone, you might have to honor their request and see what happens. Sometimes an aging parent is more able to cope with independence than we give them credit for. On the other hand, it might prove to be more than they can handle. This might help them to see that the ease of living in a community would be preferable to the struggle of living alone.
Focus On The Positives
Point out potential benefits such as no longer having to clean, cook, shop or do laundry. Some upscale Oahu senior communities are equivalent to high-end resorts. Five-star dining, engaging activities, fitness and wellness programs, a beautiful setting and luxuriously appointed private rooms and apartments can all be part of an Oahu assisted living package. If less fancy accommodations are in the offing, you can focus on the opportunity to relax and let someone else run the show.
Go Community Hopping With Mom Or Dad
Find a few places that look promising and arrange guided tours. Make it clear to your parent that you are only shopping for a new place to live, not moving. Additionally, it is important that your parent feel they have a lot of say in the choice of where to live in order to get their buy-in.
Make Plans Based On Illness Progression
If your parent has been diagnosed with a progressively debilitating condition, you can plan ahead based on the most likely course of the illness. Leave yourselves some wiggle room. It’s easier to make plans on an “if and when” basis than to rush headlong into a wrong decision.
Discuss The “Final Residence” Fear
It can be scarier for seniors to face their own mortality than to move into an assisted living community. End-of-life issues can be fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. One-on-one counseling or a visit with a pastor or a priest may provide some reassurance.
Leaving home and moving into an unfamiliar facility to live with strangers can feel like abandonment to a parent. It’s not an easy time, but with love and compassion, you can be a strong and comforting presence for mom or dad, even in the midst of this challenging and difficult transition.