Talking Tips for a Family Conversation About Assisted Living

Talking tips for a family conversation about assisted living.

Frequent falls, injuries, mobility challenges, and difficulty with personal care can indicate it’s no longer safe for an older adult to live alone. The option many families choose is for a family member to care for them. Chronic illnesses and injuries can make it medically impossible to care for someone in the home, though.

Realizing a loved one needs more care than you can provide can be incredibly emotional and stressful for families, especially if the loved one doesn’t agree and isn’t ready. Talking to a loved one and other family members about assisted living isn’t easy. 

To help, here are some tips for a family conversation about assisted living.

1.  Don’t procrastinate.

It’s easy for families to put off difficult conversations.  However, speaking with a loved one about moving into an assisted living community is significantly easier when you’re not on a time crunch.

You don’t want to wait until you’re in an emergency and your loved one (and family) don’t have enough time to research communities and, more importantly, process your emotions.

Finding an assisted living community that meets your needs takes time and effort. There are some fantastic assisted living communities, but you need to make the effort to find them. Your loved one should have the time and opportunity to choose a community they’ll enjoy.   

2. Empathy is key.

Leaving your home and giving up any amount of independence is incredibly difficult. This may be hard for your family, but it’s significantly harder for your loved one.

Respect your loved one’s feelings and listen to them. Listen to their concerns, and understand they may be upset, scared, and maybe even angry. The key is to validate their feelings and be supportive as a family.

3. Research assisted living communities.

There are close to 30,000 assisted living communities in the United States. Assisted living communities vary widely regarding price, services, and amenities.

Make sure you thoroughly research the options in your area. Trusted friends, family members, and even your loved one’s physician can be great referral sources. Set up meetings and tour a variety of assisted living communities before choosing.

4. Be positive.

If you’re picturing a bunch of older adults sitting around completely bored in assisted living communities, think again!

Assisted living communities like Notre Dame Health Care are full of happy, active, and social older adults who love the senior living lifestyle. You might find that your loved one will thrive in the right assisted living community. Stress to them the benefits of living in a low-maintenance, stress-free environment with many activities and opportunities to meet and socialize with peers.

Let’s look at some of the services and amenities assisted living residents can enjoy:

  • Planned social events, outings and recreational activities
  • Musical entertainment
  • Cocktail hours
  • Full-service beauty parlor/ barber
  • Weekly housekeeping and linen services
  • Movies
  • Fitness classes
  • Volunteer committees
  • Ministry and prayer services
  • Spacious studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments
  • Delicious chef-prepared meals and snacks
  • Daily help with bathing, grooming, toileting, and dressing
  • Transportation to weekly shopping excursions
  • Walking paths

5. Involve your older loved one in the decision-making.

Your loved one must be involved in choosing the assisted living community. This is their new home, and they should have the opportunity to provide input on their needs.

Show them pamphlets and websites for various communities, take them on tours and find out what they like and don’t like in multiple communities. Your loved one’s involvement will ensure they feel respected and find an assisted living community that meets their needs.

Wrap-up and next steps

The assisted living conversation is rarely an easy one for families.  But with some planning, research, and empathy, you can make the process easier.

Assisted living communities like Notre Dame Health Care have knowledgeable and caring professionals who are there to answer questions and support families.

About Notre Dame Health Care

Notre Dame Health Care (NDHC) offers a range of post-acute programs and services to the community, including an Assisted Living Residence; Adult & Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Care; Post-Acute Recuperation; Short-Term Rehabilitation; Skilled Nursing and traditional Long Term Care; Specialized Memory Care; and an educational resource center which serves our employees and community. We embrace the individuality, spirituality, and wholeness of each member of our community, including our residents, patients, families, volunteers, and staff.

Notre Dame Health Care is proudly non-profit and honored to carry on the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to care for the sick and vulnerable and to educate for life through our NDHC Educational Bridge Center.

Notre Dame Health Care
555-559 Plantation Street
Worcester, MA 01605
(508) 852-5800