Talking to Your Parents About Assisted Living

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

How do I broach the subject with my father about moving into an Assisted Living community? -Michael, Merrick, NY

Dear Michael,

No doubt, this will be one of the toughest conversations you will need to start with your father but start it you must, especially if he’s beginning to let himself go in care and appearance.

Here’s what I always advise: Acknowledge his need for independence and self-sufficiency, but stress your concern for his health and safety. Tell him no permanent decisions need to be made – and there’s no need to sell his house right away; but, yes, you are hoping he try a community for a month and get a sense of what life can be like again. If he doesn’t enjoy it, no harm done; he can go back home after 30 days. What usually happens in these situations, though, is that when they find themselves alone again, their sense of isolation and discomfort are heightened. They tell themselves: “I could be playing cards, having coffee with friends, or enjoying a fun trip. Why am I here alone?” They may have visited the community just to satisfy their children, and were even determined to dislike the experience, but upon returning home, they admit to themselves that the stay was far better than being lonely. Almost inevitably, they ask to return and stay on a permanent basis. And FYI: They end up making the best residents, because it ends up being their decision, and they truly want to be there.

So, do your research, find a quality community, and propose a temporary stay to your dad. If he’s like the majority of residents I encounter, he’ll eventually move in permanently and thank you for the opportunity.

Regards,
Maryellen McKeon

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