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5 Tips for Having “The Conversation” About Assisted Living

Aging loved ones can face many challenges. One of the most difficult challenges is talking about their living situation. 

This discussion can be incredibly emotional if they have been coping with a chronic illness or condition that has limited their independence. Knowing how to have this delicate conversation is essential for improving their quality of life, as well as their mental and physical health.

Assisted living resident elderly man leaning on cane in Metairie / New Orleans assisted living retirement community

When family members care for their loved ones, they often develop personal feelings and opinions about what is best for them. 

Sometimes these emotions can make it difficult to think objectively to provide them with information suited to their needs and self-identity. 

The best way to overcome these obstacles is by learning as much as possible about the different senior living options available. When it comes to assisted living, getting suitable information is best done by touring, where you can get the “feel of things”, put real faces to written words. Being familiar with these options will allow you to have a more objective conversation with mom or dad  while helping her or him feel empowered and informed.

Making a move to an assisted living facility is a big decision. But with the right knowledge and preparation, you can make the process as smooth as possible. 

1. Come prepared with information about options

When you begin speaking to your loved ones about their living situation, make sure you have suitable information for the conversation. Without it, it will be difficult for them to have ask questions. So before arriving at a decision about their future living arrangements, it’s essential to understand their current living situation and how they view their situation.

Important starter questions to ask in this discussion after you have visited with them, have listened and have built a relationship of trust are: 

  • How are you spending your time during the day?
  • What type of things are challenging for you?
  • What are you afraid of losing as you age?
  • What would be ideal for you?
  • If you could change something, what would that be?

Talking about these things before giving them options will provide you with insight that will improve the conversation and help you find solutions that meet their needs.

Many are afraid of losing their independence, so having an open and honest conversation about their living situation is vital for improving their quality of life.

2. Be patient

Like any other sensitive topic, the conversation about assisted living is best handled with patience and understanding.

Keep in mind that your loved one may be afraid or anxious about change, sometimes any change. Give them time to process their thoughts and emotions before discussing them.

Patience can be difficult when you’re dealing with mom or dad who may feel like they lost their independence, but keep calm and take your time — this conversation may need to be done in steps.

3. Choose the right time and place

Timing is important when discussing difficult options that involve change or moving to an assisted living facility. To make sure the conversation goes as smoothly as possible, pick a time and place that works best for both of you.

  • If your loved one is more responsive and alert first thing in the morning or following a nap, then morning or afternoon would be ideal times to talk.
  • If your loved one has difficulty focusing because of their health condition, then late-night might be a good choice.4. 

4. Approach the conversation with empathy and compassion

If you’ve ever had to talk to your aging loved one about moving to an assisted living facility, then you know how difficult this conversation can be. Make sure you show them as much love and support as possible when having this discussion — it doesn’t have to be a negative conversation, and it should instead focus on the positive. Re-examine the first tip to help ensure your success.

Here are some ways to frame the conversation after establishing the previous steps:

  • “You’ve been doing a great job taking care of yourself, and I’m so proud of you.”
  • “I want to take the best care of you that I can. That’s why we’re going to have this important conversation about your living situation.”
  • “I want you to be as happy and comfortable as possible. Let’s talk about all of your options.”

By staying positive and being empathetic, you can help them navigate their options with confidence.

5. Be open to answering questions and providing suitable necessary information

Even though you’ve come prepared for this conversation, mom or dad may still have questions they want answered before deciding on their options or living situation.

To make sure the conversation doesn’t leave them feeling anxious or overwhelmed, take the time to answer their questions openly and honestly. Allow them the space to ask whatever questions they have, no matter how silly or uncomfortable they might be.

After touring facilities and narrowing down options, arrange for another tour with your mom, dad or loved one. It is normal to expect some reluctance but seeing usually relieves some anxiety and they become more open to considering this change. Receiving information after the tour increases success.

Should you encounter strong resistance to this change, you can provide them with written material that outlines their options for assisted living facilities, as well as the services offered by each one. This way, they may feel more empowered and less worried about moving to a new living situation.

Offering these options as opportunities can help them make the right choice for themselves and is vital in making sure that every decision is based on all the necessary and suitable information.

Make The Move Easier with St. Francis Villa Assisted Living

As your aging mom, dad or loved one determines the best option for their future, having a kind and compassionate conversation is key to finding the best possible solution. With these tips, you can help them through this challenging process. 

The best ways to discuss the future with them is with the right support and suitable information with a tour!

At St. Francis Villa Assisted Living Community, we offer great day-to-day amenities and services for mom’s or dad’s well-being—all within a supportive community environment!

Our team takes the time to help them adjust to their new living situation and provides necessary suitable information so they can make confident choices about their future.

Want to learn more about how St. Francis Villa can support you and your loved one? Contact us today for more information, and schedule a personalized tour!

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