Many aging parents and loved ones resist moving into Assisted Living or Memory Care communities because they fear isolation from their family and friends, a loss of independence, and the financial burden it can put on their monthly income. Fueled by their fears, those resisting elder care can become aggressive, stubborn, and difficult to manage. However, you shouldn’t allow your loved one’s fears of moving into an Assisted Living community to prevent you from taking the necessary steps toward finding a care plan that works best for them and your family. Use the following tips and suggestions to understand their concerns and find a solution that works for everyone.
Be patient – Change can be difficult for many people. A new routine in a new environment is full of changes, especially for an aging parent who has probably lived in the same house in the same neighborhood for decades. Be patient with them. Talk with them calmly about the fearful or aggressive emotions they have toward moving into a community. Listen more than you talk, and allow your parent or loved one the opportunity to tell you their fears about this change. Patience will help you find the reasoning behind their resistance to an Assisted Living community.
Talk about it regularly – No matter how difficult it may be, you must talk openly and often about your parent or loved one’s fears and the best care option for them. Ask open-ended questions rather than yes or no questions, so your parent has to answer the question in their own words. Prevent your loved one from veering off topic and avoiding the subject with other discussions. Some conversations may be repetitive as your loved one processes through their emotions while other conversations may need to be revisited several times before your loved one is comfortable enough to discuss the topic.
Probe – Even with regular discussions and patience, your parent may not reveal the true fear of moving into an Assisted Living community. Probe into what about Assisted Living scares them, and try to put their fears to rest. For example, if your parent or loved one fears isolation from their family and friends, assure them that frequent visits and even current technology can help combat a sense of isolation. Digging deeper into their fears will help you persuade them to pursue the best care option.
Offer options – Rather than trying to force your loved one to follow your suggestions, give them a variety of options, and allow them to give their input whenever possible. Take them on tours of different communities in your area, and ask their opinion on what they like and dislike at each community. They can choose amenities, daily activities, and community events they would enjoy most. Offering options will help your parent or loved one stop resisting your suggestions and accept a care plan.
Seek professional advice – Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice from a physician or home health provider. They can make suggestions for the best care plan that meets your loved one’s needs. You can also speak with a Senior Living Advisor about Assisted Living options in your area, as well as common experiences when moving into a new community. Your parent may feel better about the situation knowing they aren’t the first person to experience these emotions while making such a large transition. Professional advice may even help assure you that you’re taking the correct steps toward your loved one’s care and help eliminate any doubt or guilt you experience.
Accept their decision – As long as your parent or loved one is not a danger to themselves, you must accept their decision. Ultimately, you cannot force them to move because you worry about potential hazards that come with aging. You can always revisit the topic at a later time.
Ultimately, you must get to the root of your loved one’s fears through open communication, patience, and professional advice to help them through this life-changing move. You can also search the OurParents blog for other helpful tips for moving into an Assisted Living community in your area.