Is Assisted Living A Bad Word In Your Family?

December 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

In our society we have stigmitised assisted living homes to a point that it is almost a bad word. Unfortunately there are facilities that fit the sterotype of “old folks home”, but so many centers are modern communities that offer seniors the opportunity to flourish. With so many different facilities available, there is bound to be one that will fit your loved one’s needs. But how do we convince them of that?

Seniors may feel a variety of emotions when the topic of assisted living comes up: sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt or even resentment toward their family. These emotions are natural and to be expected with a life change of this magnitude. It will be of the upmost importantance to try and understand their persepective. Maybe they’ve been in their home for many years, possibly lost a spouse recently or have lost mobility and the freedom they are accustomed to. It’s hard to give up the independence that they have known for most of their lives, but in many cases, seniors that move into an assisted living centers actually find themselves with more opportunities to thrive because they aren’t secluded as they were in their previous homes.

Here is a list of suggestions from to help convince an elderly parent that its time to think about moving to assisted living:

  1. First, plant the seed. Don’t approach your parent as though you’ve already made the decision for him or her. Just mention that there are options that could make life easier and more fun.
  2. Next, offer a tour of some local assisted living centers, if he or she is willing, but don’t push it. Drop the subject if necessary, and wait for another day.
  3. Watch for a “teachable moment.” Did Mom fall, but escape getting badly hurt? Use that as a springboard. You may want to wait a bit, or immediately say something like, “Wow, that was close. Once you’re feeling better, maybe we could go look at the new assisted living center over by the church. We’d both feel better if you had people around.” Go with your gut on the timing, but use the “moment”.
  4. Again, don’t push unless you consider this an emergency. It’s hard to wait, but you may need to. Wait for, say, a very lonely day when Mom is complaining about how she never sees her friends anymore. Then, gently, try again.
  5. Check with your friends and friends of your parents. See if any live happily in an assisted living center nearby, or if their parents do. Just like your first day of school when you looked for a friend – any friend – who may be in your class, your parent would feel much better if there were a friend already in the center.
  6. Even if they won’t know anyone, you can still take your parent to watch a group having fun playing cards or wii bowling. Show off the social aspects of a good center. Keep it light and don’t force the issue. Tour more than one center, if possible, and ask your parent for input. Big center or small? New and modern or older and cozy?
  7. Show interest in how much privacy a resident has. Ask about bringing furniture from home and how much room there is. Take measuring tapes and visualize, if you can see some rooms, how your parent’s room(s) would look. Show excitement, as you would do if you were helping your parent move to a new apartment, because that’s what you are doing.
  8. Stress the safety aspects.
  9. Stress the fact that there’s no yard cleanup, but flowers can be tended to. There’s no need to call a plumber if the sink breaks, but there are plenty of things to do if people want. There’s plenty of freedom to be alone, but company when they desire it.
  10. Wait. Let it all sink in. Sorry to say that if you want your parent to make the decision, you could have to wait for another fall or something else before they will be willing to take that step. However, if your family is close-knit, have a meeting with the parent at this point and tell him or her how much better the family would feel if the move were made.
  11. Enlist a family friend or spiritual leader to chat with your parent and state the case for this move. Third parties often can make headway when family fails.

There are many aspects to consider when deciding if assisted living is the right option for your loved one. It may be the right time to consult with a professional, such as an elder care attorney, who can help your family consider all the angles.

If you or your family needs help deciding if an assited living situation is right for a family member, please contact the Law Office of Dawn M. Weekly, PC. The law firm is located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning for clients. Their office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334.

Every day of every week, Weekly Law is here for you.


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