If you have aging parents who require significant help in living their daily lives, you may be thinking about finding them a new home. However, you’re probably worried about their hearts. How can you help them stay safe and healthy while remaining compassionate toward the difficulties they face? Many children cave under concern for their loved ones’ happiness, feeling it is worth it to sacrifice their own daily lives to empower their loved ones to continue theirs. While this may be noble, it can have very negative effects on the caretakers’ lives while enabling unhealthy, unsustainable lifestyles for seniors who would live far happier lives with professional care and assistance.
Here, we’re talking to people with aging parents. Some of us have parents who look into assisted living on their own. However, they tend to be the exception to the rule. The rest of us often face a significant battle. Tackling the topic of assisted living with people who don’t want to think about it isn’t for the faint of heart. The good news is, there are ways to approach this all-important topic that are both compassionate and effective. We’ve discussed them in the past few blogs. In our last blog, we considered planting the seed of a better life, providing concrete examples of what that life could look like via research and tools, and watching for “teachable moments” where the benefit of assisted living becomes very clear. Today, we have a few more kind angles you can take on the subject.
How to Introduce and Discuss the Idea of Assisted Living
Remember, what works for one person will not necessarily work for someone else. As you look through our tips, use your knowledge of your loved one in order to decipher which strategy will be the most positive and effective.
Get referrals from trusted sources.
- All change is made more stressful by the ever-worrisome unknown. Many seniors balk at the idea of moving into assisted living because they don’t know what it will be like (and outdated “nursing home” concepts have convinced them that it must be bad). If you can track down people who are thriving in assisted living, you have a significant tool for battling your senior’s nerve-wracking “what if.” Additionally, one significant trouble seniors face is loneliness. If you can find someone they trust who has already made the change to assisted living, chances are good that you’ll be able to encourage your loved one to do the same. They might even end up in the same facility. As we all learn in school, there’s nothing like a familiar face to make a new experience easier.
Resist the urge to push.
- This advice can be some of the most difficult to follow, especially if you’re already worn thin from caring for your elderly loved one. Like we said, whenever any of us move, we’ve usually been thinking about it for months ahead of time. Unless your loved one’s need for assisted living is an emergency, you will get where you need to be faster if you leave control in his or her hands. Wait for circumstances that are difficult (i.e. a very lonely day for your senior) and then gently try to bring the topic up again. Make it clear that you have your loved one’s best interests at heart, and you’ll go far!
- Nobody moves into a new place without touring it first. If you sense your loved one is struggling with an “all or nothing” mindset, show him or her that it is possible to visit facilities and try this new life out without being pushed into a decision. Encourage them that setting foot into an assisted living facility in the name of exploration is an empowering thing to do, a way to understand their options so they can make the best decision. Again, preserve your loved one’s power of choice, and you’ll reassure them that they are being loved, not shoved off as an inconvenience.
Contact The Heritage
Life is a journey, and at The Heritage, we believe that there is no point at which the thriving has to end. We are on a mission to empower seniors in Hammonton to live their lives to the fullest while bringing peace to their families. Contact us for a tour of our senior living apartments today!