As an Aging Life Care Advisor, one of the hardest decisions an adult child may be faced with centers around whether a parent should enter an assisted living residence. Recently, I was part of a panel at The Kensington in White Plains, New York where I spoke about this topic. Below are ten strategies for making a successful transition to assisted living:
Don’t start this conversation after you’ve had an awful day at work, you received a call from your child’s teacher, or the auto shop gave you an astronomical figure for repairing the family car. Same goes for your parent. Don’t do start the conversation on a day they are upset about something.
“Mom, I’m concerned about you, it worries me to see you like this.” (Always the focus on your parent but the responsibility for the feelings are yours, this way parents do not become defensive)
Look for openings for the discussion. A friend telling you about her father’s fall when he got up in the middle of the night or a cousin whose mother just moved into ……. and is relieved to no longer have the upkeep of her house.
Back away if there is resistance…..you can always go back and try again.
Look within the family and beyond, for people that your father respects. His or her opinion may be of significant value in your father’s decision making process.
“Let’s just go for lunch, that’s all, to see what …… is like. We’re just looking.”
Know where your siblings are on this issue. If there is lack of agreement on this move, your parent(s) will sense this, and the chance of success will be lessened.
“You can stay for a month and see how you like it.” This way a parent knows he is not making a long term commitment.
“They’re old people there.” “I know you may see it that way, but this isn’t a nursing home, there are all sorts of activities and you know how difficult it was for you last winter when the oil burner went out and Con Ed turned off the electricity when there was a gas leak.”
“Dad, remember when I was little and you would ask me to do something for you? If you would just try ……. For a month, it would make me feel better. When I am at work, I’m thinking about whether you are okay. It would be such a relief for me.”