The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

Posted by The Bristal  |

How to Talk to Your Parent About Assisted Living

If your parent or loved one has started to show signs of needing help, it may be time to discuss assisted living options with them. As you explore possible solutions, you may be wondering, “How do I talk to my parent about this?”

Although broaching this subject with your parent can seem daunting, you don’t have to jump into it without a plan. Here are some tips that can help you as you prepare to begin discussing assisted living with your loved one.

Guideline #1: Do Your Research

You wouldn’t want to take a test without studying first, and the same goes for talking to your parent about assisted living. Doing some basic research before starting a conversation can help give you confidence and make you better prepared to address your loved one’s questions.

Here are some ways you can research assisted living:

  • Search the internet for basic information: What is assisted living? Who needs it?
  • Contact your local agency on aging. You can use the Eldercare Locator to find your local office, and here are a few in the tri-state area:
  • Read blogs like The Bristal Blog to learn more about assisted living topics
  • Talk to friends or family members about their experiences related to assisted living

Related: What Questions Should I Ask About Assisted Living for My Loved One?>>

Guideline #2: Start the Conversation Early

For several reasons, it’s best to start this conversation as early as possible. Doing so will allow you more time to plan for the future and can help you avoid having to choose an assisted living community in an urgent or emergency situation. Also, assisted living communities often have waitlists, depending on what type of apartment you are looking for, so the process of preparing for a move to assisted living can take some time.

Even if you don’t think you need to talk to them about assisted living yet, it may actually be the right time to initially bring up the subject.

In the beginning, it often helps to frame the conversation with questions to get your loved one thinking. Here are some examples:

  • How did your last doctor’s visit go? Is there anything you’re worried about with your health?
  • How is keeping up the house going? Would some extra help make it easier?
  • Have you spent time with friends? Are you feeling lonely?
  • Do you feel safe when you’re at home by yourself?

For some more ideas on how to set the stage and start the conversation, check out this helpful podcast featuring Dr. Regina Koepp, a board certified psychologist who works with older adults and their families.

Guideline #3: Listen to Your Parent and Let Them Steer the Conversation

Once you’ve opened the door, the best thing to do is simply listen to your parent or loved one. This will help you understand where they’re coming from and help you use empathy as you continue the conversation.

You want your loved one to be comfortable being honest with you, so if they express fear or concern, don’t dismiss it. Simply listen and acknowledge what they have to say, and don’t offer solutions right away.

It’s also a good idea to let them steer the conversation and actively participate. Try not to pressure them, but instead let them know that you are on their side and want to work together with them.

Guideline #4: Focus on the Positive

As your conversation transitions into exploring solutions with your loved one, be sure to focus on the potential positive outcomes of moving to an assisted living community. Your parent might be resistant because they see assisted living as the end of a chapter, but you can help them to change their approach and frame it as an exciting new beginning for them ― which it truly is for so many!

Here are some great benefits of assisted living you can talk to them about:

  • Freedom from housekeeping tasks and maintenance
  • Ample opportunity for social interaction and activities
  • More time to do what they truly enjoy
  • Peace of mind that they are safe, and their needs are being met
  • Improved health and wellness from quality care and optimal environment

Presenting your parent with some of these benefits can give them some food for thought and help them think about assisted living in a new way. You can also show them resident testimonials from senior living communities you may be considering to provide them with a third-party perspective.

Related: Why Assisted Living is a Great Choice for Seniors >>

Guideline #5: Give the Process Time

Keep in mind that talking to your parent about assisted living will likely extend beyond just one conversation. It will probably consist of many discussions over a period of time. And that’s perfectly OK.

Studies show that seniors often have difficulty adapting to change, so giving your loved one time to process their thoughts and ponder solutions can help. Continue to listen to your parent and emphasize that you want what is best for them, and reassure them that, ultimately, the decision is theirs to make.

More Tips on Where to Begin Your Search for Assisted Living

Check out The Bristal Assisted Living beginner’s guide to starting your search for assisted living. Here, you’ll find information on assisted living costs and questions, how to choose the right assisted living community, and understanding Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.



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