Moving a loved one into a senior living facility is not an easy decision. There are plenty of emotions that can arise for both you and your parent. Though convincing a parent that a senior facility is the right option will not be easy, it is inevitable for some. The following will help ease you and your parent through this difficult transition.
1. Make a Game Plan with Siblings
When it comes to moving a parent into senior living, your entire family must be in agreement. Though this type of change can be extremely difficult for everyone involved, everyone needs to be on the same page before the conversation with Mom or Dad. Everyone should be in agreement or at least come to an understanding before the conversation begins. If one sibling or family member isn’t in alignment with your decision, a resistant parent will cling to the disagreeing family member. The bottom line? If senior living is what’s best for Mom or Dad, then moving them from their home isn’t heartless—it’s kind.
2. The Conversation
The important thing to remember about the conversation with your elderly parent is: you won’t need to prepare for one conversation. The initial conversation is only the first one. You will begin to establish a dialogue with your parent. Ask your parent how he or she feels about moving to senior living. Your parent might want to move to senior living but felt embarrassed to admit the truth or ashamed of the desire to leave the childhood home. The first conversation is an ice breaker to determine how your parent will react to this change and discover his or her concerns. Do not try to convince your parent in the first conversation—doing so will only lead to further negative emotions.
3. Following Up
After your parent has a little time to digest the idea of assisted living, follow up. As your mom or dad about any feelings that have risen since your first conversation. Reinforce the benefits of senior living. Confirm that the move will not be easy. By confirming your parent’s fears and negative emotions, you are showing your parent that you are not dismissive of his or her feelings but concerned for the overall health and wellbeing of the members of your family.
4. Making the Decision
When your parent is ready to accept the decision to move into senior living, try to be available as much as possible—physically and emotionally. Ensure your parent that your siblings and other family members will support this move in every way possible. Make up a calendar of days that family members will visit the assisted living facility, ensuring your parent that there will be plenty of support each week. Talk about which senior facilities are a good fit. Try to look for ones in the area closest to the majority of your parent’s family members and friends. Enlist the help of a Senior Living Placement Specialist to narrow the list to those communities that meet all the needs of your unique case. This will make your parents know that a great deal of thought has gone into the decision and that an expert has been consulted to assist.
5. The Move
One of the most emotional stages in this process, the move is where you may experience some more resistance. Since your parent cannot possibly take every possession to the facility, you must help your parent decide what to keep, what should be packed away and what should be thrown away, and there are people who specialize in and are very good at providing assistance through this difficult part of the transition.
6. Understanding Emotional Responses
Your parent will probably need plenty of emotional support from family and friends as well as a professional therapist. Luckily, most senior living centers provide an onsite therapist or social worker to help ease the discomfort and sadness of this type of move. Talk to your parent’s therapist to find out if there is anything you can do to make the move more comfortable.
Though you’re probably worried about your parent’s emotions during this time, you should not neglect your emotional wellbeing either. No matter whether it was easy or difficult to convince your parent of this move, this decision could not have been easy for you. Many people who put parents in assisted living feel emotions of guilt and sadness. Not only are you dealing with your parent’s mortality, but you’re also dealing with your own mortality. A therapist is a great way to deal with these emotions and reaffirm your decision.
This decision to move your parent has probably been emotionally draining, but you know it was the right decision to make. Moving a parent into such a facility can not only add months or years to his or her life, it can increase the quality of life too.
About Senior Path:
We are a professional, senior housing advisory service which provides personal attention to Seniors and their families. We employ a staff of talented, caring Advisors who have vast experience helping Seniors and their families through this transition. Our Advisors have extensive backgrounds in the Senior Care industry enabling them to understand what Seniors want and need.