If your parents live at home but are starting to show signs of needing a little help around the house, your family may be considering whether assisted living could be the solution. In addition to the many amenities and features, the right community can provide support with the tasks of everyday life, such as bathing, dressing, preparing food or managing medications.
If this sounds like the kind of assistance your parents would benefit from, they will likely appreciate the other advantages of senior living as well: a private residence, an independent lifestyle, monthly events, fitness classes, scheduled transportation and plenty of activities providing easy ways to make new friends and stay engaged.
Despite the many advantages, many families will discover that not everyone is initially in agreement when discussing senior living, as there are many factors to consider and everyone is sure to have an opinion. The good news is there are steps you can take to help guide your loved ones into seeing eye-to-eye.
The First Step in Discussing Assisted Living
Each family’s needs are different and you’ll want to do enough research to know what senior living options will work best to meet yours. But the real key is understanding what your parents want. If possible, they should ultimately be the ones making the decision, as it is their lifestyle and home under discussion. The adult children’s role should be one of support and assistance in helping them discover their options so they can make an informed choice.
However, keep in mind that your parents’ safety and happiness is always the top priority. If help is needed, but your parents are hesitant to make any changes, it’s much easier to put senior living and services forward as a possibility if the children or other family members are in agreement and able to present a united front.
Families Often See Assisted Living Very Differently
There are many reasons why siblings or other family members view assisted living and other senior living models very differently from one another. The following may help explain a few:
- They may not believe their parents need this level of help
Time has a way of catching adult children off guard, and they may not realize that their parents have grown older, as well. Your siblings may still see them as they once were and fail to recognize the additional support and assistance they now require.
- They may not understand what assisted living has to offer
Many adult children haven’t had any experience with assisted living and may hold an outdated, inaccurate opinion of senior living in general. If they believe an assisted living community is an “old folks home,” they’re likely not aware of all the advantages a community has to offer.
- They may not feel that they are being heard
It’s fairly common that one or two children have assumed the role of caregiver for their parents, particularly if living in proximity is a factor. If they have become used to making the decisions, other siblings may feel left out or not part of the discussion.
- They may feel they’re being disloyal to their parents’ wishes
If one or both of your parents have expressed concerns or are hesitant to move into an assisted living community, a sibling may feel they are being disloyal to the desires of your parents if they openly support a transition.
Guiding Your Family to Common Ground
While there may be differing viewpoints, there are steps your family can take that can help everyone reach an agreement (or at least a compromise) about what decision is the right one for your family. Consider a few of these suggestions:
- Include all family members in the conversation
Make sure everyone is included when discussing a transition to senior living. Find the best time and place to talk, and if there are some who can’t be there in person, virtual calls like Zoom or FaceTime can also work. Pass along any information or insight you may have ahead of time so everyone is as prepared as possible.
- Encourage everyone’s opinion
It’s quite natural for family members to have differing opinions about complex topics like senior living, but the key to finding common ground is making sure everyone has a voice. Agree that the focus should be on your parents’ health and happiness, and encourage everyone to be open, honest and respectful.
- Remain positive and acknowledge each other’s viewpoints
Everyone involved in the conversation loves your parents and wants the very best for them, even if there’s disagreement as to what that is or how to provide it. Explore different options and work through the pros and cons of each. If necessary, find a temporary compromise and agree to readdress the issues in six months.
- Seek outside help
If the divide is too wide for your family to cross, it’s critical to remember that your parents still need caring support. Reach out for third-party assistance, if needed. Begin with your parents’ medical team for care recommendations, or engage the services of a geriatric care manager or mediator.
How Assisted Living Can Help
If your parents or siblings don’t think an assisted living community is the right decision, but you think differently, here are two effective strategies you can try.
- Schedule a tour so everyone can see first-hand what life at the community would be like. The staff can help your family navigate this decision by answering important questions and explaining how they help the residents feel at home.
- Match the needs of your parents with the benefits of community life, such as:
- Having trouble preparing healthy meals? A community offers delicious, nutritional options, and choices about when, where and what to eat.
- Need assistance with bathing safely or getting dressed? Personal help with activities of daily living is available whenever needed.
- Overwhelmed with the upkeep of your home? Assisted living is maintenance-free.
- No longer driving? Scheduled transportation is available.
- Feeling lonely or isolated? Communities offer many opportunities to meet and make new friends.
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living. We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or your loved one, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Funding Senior Living & Services.
To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.