5 strategies to prepare a senior for assisted living
If your parent or loved one needs help with day-to-day living, you may be considering assisted living to offer a level of independence while ensuring needed services are available.
In fact, it may be better than other options, as one study found that “substantial numbers of older adults living at home or in supportive settings other than nursing homes experience adverse consequences related to unmet need,” according to the Milbank Quarterly healthcare journal.
That’s because assisted living facilities offer housing with meals, housekeeping, community activities, and staff members to help with daily tasks.
However, your loved one may have reservations so, to help, here are five strategies to prepare a senior for assisted living.
Do your research
Whether your loved one is on the fence or completely against moving, do some research so you feel comfortable talking about options and answering questions.
Prepare to discuss cost, entertainment offerings, distance from family, and anything else you think may come up. Read reviews of local facilities, and find out how to schedule tours.
Lay the groundwork
Don’t let assisted living be a taboo topic. Ask people about their experiences with friends and family members. When you’re with your senior family member, point out facilities in your area.
Additionally, discuss the positive aspects along with any concerns. After all, if you focus only on the pros without addressing what makes your loved one nervous — and how to deal with it — it will set the stage for distrust or disappointment.
Choose the right time to talk
You may be tempted to talk about assisted living when your loved one has a bad day, but plan to bring it up during calm times.
“Wait for when they express misgivings about their current living situation — sadness at isolation, not enjoying eating alone or missing bingo or movie nights,” The Retreat at Alameda says. “Share your worries, in a gentle fashion, about their safety, medications and social life. Then plant the seeds about assisted living and its benefits.”
Take a tour
When your loved one is ready to consider moving, arrange to take a tour or several tours together. Help create a list of questions beforehand, and involve other supportive people.
“Have the community manager or a friend with a parent residing there introduce your parent to current residents,” The Retreat at Alameda says. “If they can feel a connection, the transition is easier. Consider going for a day or half day to get a better feel for the residents and staff. A short visit might not give you a full picture.”
Listen to your loved one
One of the most important things you can do is listen because, even though you have your loved one’s best interests at heart, it doesn’t mean you know best.
So, if your loved one wants to live independently, help make that work until it’s clear that it won’t. If assisted living is a necessity, address concerns through research and tours. For example, is your loved one worried about making friends or eating unfamiliar food?
“Visit when the residents are gathering for entertainment, games or other activities,” The Retreat at Alameda says. “Plan to stay for a meal. Let them sample the meal offerings so they know that they will be getting good, healthy food.”
As you help your loved one prepare, visit RetreatSeniorLiving.com for details and to request pre-leasing information about the new assisted living community in Phoenix.