18 August, 2021 | 4 min read

How to Help Your Parents Decide if it’s Time for Assisted Living

Have you noticed your parents beginning to struggle with some of the basic tasks of daily living? Are you concerned about their safety? Do you think an assisted living community could be the right choice, but have avoided the conversation? 

Are you waiting for the right time to talk about their options, but it never seems to arrive?

It may help to know that you are not alone.

Assisted living and your parents

Many adult children delay broaching the subject of assisted living with their parents because they’re not sure where to start - or they worry about the reaction they may receive. Although it can be an anxious conversation, waiting too long could mean the risk of having to make a difficult decision after a health issue or incident occurs.

It’s much better for all involved to talk while there is still time to discuss preferences and consider different options.

If you’re noticing your parents having difficulties with the following, it may be time to talk about assisted living and all it has to offer:

  • Shopping or cooking healthy meals
  • Bathing or dressing
  • Managing money and financial matters
  • Staying physically and cognitively active
  • Social interacting with others
  • General housekeeping
  • Home maintenance
  • Becoming lonely and isolated
  • Becoming fearful of living alone

Having the conversation before “The Conversation”

When families talk naturally with their parents about aging well, everyone is encouraged to express how they feel without the pressure of a more serious discussion.

If there’s still time, consider bringing up one or two of these questions when visiting with your parents. You may be surprised at some of their answers, but it’s important to listen carefully and see where the conversation may lead.

  1. Do you still feel safe living at home alone?
  2. Do you ever worry about falling or becoming ill or injured?
  3. Are you still able to plan, shop and prepare meals that you enjoy?
  4. Are you able to keep up with your bills and banking? Would you like any help?
  5. Have you ever thought about long-term care and what you’d want?
  6. Are you still comfortable driving? Would you like help figuring out transportation options?
  7. Are you able to keep up with the house maintenance or would you like some help?
  8. Could you use any help with housekeeping or cooking?
  9. Do you feel a little cut off from your friends? Do you ever feel lonely?

Suggestions for an effective conversation with your parents about assisted living

If you’re approaching the time when the discussion is needed and your parents need help making the decision, these tips can help you prepare and improve the chances of conversing successfully.

  • The earlier the better

Have the conversation while there’s still time to consider different options. Many families have found themselves forced to make a decision because their parent was hospitalized with an injury or illness and not allowed to go back home alone.

  • Face-to-face is best

Always try to have these conversations in person. Gather all the siblings together, if that works best for your family, or appoint a spokesperson. If someone can’t make it who wants to participate, arrange for them to join in by video chat or telephone.

  • Whose decision is it?

Acknowledge that it’s your parent’s (or parents’) decision to make unless they are cognitively unable to make the call. Make sure they know you are there as support, an educational resource or sounding board to help them.

  • Prepare ahead of time

Educate yourself about all that an assisted living community can offer. Don’t make assumptions or rely on other opinions, especially if it’s not based on recent experiences. Families are often surprised at how their loved one’s quality of life could be improved in an assisted living community.

  • Don’t arrive with the decision already made

Even if the adult children are in agreement that it’s time for assisted living, be sensitive to the initial difficulty your parents may have with this conclusion. They may need more time to process. Don’t make them feel backed into a corner or that their opinions don’t matter.

  • Be a good listener

If you’re noticing challenges they’re having, they likely are, too. They may be afraid to live alone or are beginning to worry about keeping up with the house, but are unsure how to bring the subject up. Listening to their own concerns can help you address them directly.

  • What if their answer is no?

Your parent may be adamant about not moving. They may even refuse to have the conversation at all. Every family is different, so you’ll want to customize any advice and conversation styles to what would work best with your parents. You may need to regroup and prepare to talk again.

  • Visit a few communities to learn more

After a conversation, suggest visiting a few local communities for information only. Make sure no one feels pressured. A chance to share a meal, look at the residences and review the activities can give your parents a glimpse of what their life might be like.

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
  • Pet-friendly
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • And much, much more!

If you’re considering whether an assisted living community could be the right fit for your family, we’re here to answer any questions. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, A Family Guide to Funding Senior Living and Services.


Please call 866-ESKATON (866-375-2866) if you would like to discuss the many benefits of senior living or to schedule a personalized tour.

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