How to ease your parents’ transition to assisted living
As your parents age, it might become more difficult for them to perform daily tasks, such as grocery shopping, housekeeping, even bathing and dressing. While assisted living may be the right choice for one or both parents, discussing it can be difficult.
Here are a few tips for how to ease your parents’ transition to assisted living.
Take one step at a time
Unless assisted living is immediately necessary, consider taking time to chat about it with your parents. Bring up the idea to see how open they are and what concerns they have. You want to feel confident that you’re making the right decision, and getting on the same page will make all the difference.
If one of your parents recently fell or had a close call, it may be helpful to discuss how assisted living means someone will be available at all times. Sympathize with what your parent went through, and talk about how having experts onsite will help in the future.
After planting the seed, research local assisted living communities and tour them, preferably together.
Plan for financial and logistical needs
As you emotionally prepare your parents and yourself, you can also make financial and logistical preparations.
Look at how much your parents can afford, how much family members can contribute, and what options are available through Medicare and organizations like the Live Care Foundation, which works to lighten the financial burden on families of elderly people.
“Considering your budget when choosing senior communities is like choosing a home,” The Retreat at Alameda says. “Living above your means might be enjoyable for a short period of time, but it rarely ends as nice.”
As for logistics, give yourself plenty of time to respectfully downsize your parents’ home.
“It’s a painful sorting process,” Marti Weston writes for her As Our Parents Age blog. “My one realization, though, is that I must look at each item to be certain what it is and try to evaluate its importance — no tossing handfuls of things into the trash.”
Work as a team
Helping your parents transition shouldn’t fall on just your shoulders. Ask for assistance from the communities’ care team, your partner, and other family members. As everyone plays a part, your parents will feel the love and concern. After all, the goal is to keep them safe and happy.
“It’s not just finding and coordinating care, expertise and support,” according to the Transition Aging Parents blog. “It’s about expanding the circle of love for you and your loved one!”
With your team in place, assign tasks to be efficient and avoid arguments. For example, one person could sort your parents’ items to organize what to keep, what to share, and what to donate. Another could help familiarize your parents with the staff, residents, and activities at the assisted living community. Yet another could oversee the move.
Every step of the way, practice patience with your parents and yourself. If you’re frustrated with an emotional parent, remind yourself that this is a major life change, and there will likely be setbacks along the way.
Additionally, surround yourself with supportive people, so you can be kind to your parents and save your venting for a friend.
As you help your parents transition, one option to consider is The Retreat at Alameda, a new assisted living community in Phoenix. Visit RetreatSeniorLiving.com for more information and to request leasing information.