You know that your loved one is struggling at home. Maybe you’ve noticed they are not keeping up with their personal hygiene or housekeeping. Or, perhaps you’re worried about recent weight loss. Maybe you’ve seen a friend’s mom move into an assisted living community and thrive among new friends and wellness resources. In any case, you know assisted living would be an ideal next step for your loved one.
The only problem? Your loved one isn’t convinced. In fact, they are downright refusing to even consider leaving their home.
While not every older adult resists a move to retirement living, moving out of a home they love and where they have created so many memories and routines can certainly feel difficult.
If you’ve determined your loved one needs assisted living but doesn’t want to move, here are a few tips for you to consider as you continue to keep the conversation going.
Stop and Listen
When you bring up assisted living in conversation, make it a conscious point to stop and listen to your loved one’s point of view, objections, and worries. In many cases, these objections can point you to the root cause of their anxiety or refusal to consider the option. For example, you might realize that your mom is nervous about moving because she doesn’t know how she will make friends in a new community. Or, you might understand that your dad is worried about receiving personal care assistance from a female caregiver.
While you might not be able to solve every hidden concern, you can begin to see the issue from your loved one’s point of view. You can also begin to address their concerns with specific solutions.
Validate Their Feelings
You don’t have to agree with your loved one’s point of view. But, you do need to validate it. Validation means recognizing that their feelings are worthwhile and very real to them. Saying phrases like, “I hear that you are worried, mom, and I can see your point of view. Making new friends can be hard, especially in a new place” can be an empathetic way to keep the conversation productive.
Without validation and affirming their feelings, conversations about assisted living can quickly become defensive.
Give Specific Examples
While a move to assisted living is all about your loved one’s experience, you can share your own experiences with them. Try to think of specific instances when they were worried or scared while living at home without support. For example, you might say, “Dad, I remember how shaken you were after your fall last winter. It was scary for all of us and I know you hated being in the hospital for so long. An assisted living community has caregivers that check in on you and are there if those emergencies happen.”
Stop and Restart Later
The conversation about senior living isn’t often going to be resolved after one chat. Be prepared to stop the conversation if it becomes defensive or unproductive. Restart it again another time when you both have had time to think more about it.
Get Them Involved
Perhaps the most important step in having your loved one be an active part of the senior living conversation is to encourage their involvement. Remind them that they are the one who will be making the decisions. You can bring them brochures, look at communities online, and even tour communities with them, but the final decision is always in their hands.
Feeling that your loved one needs assisted living, but is reluctant to move can be a challenging circumstance. A productive conversation about retirement living with your loved one is possible. It just takes a little bit of patience, a listening ear, and the reminder that you are both on the same team.
To learn about Assisted Living at The Stiles Apartments at The Glen, click here.