Supporting Parents in Their Move to Assisted Living

If your loved one currently lives independently, it can be shocking to them when someone brings up a move to assisted living. Even if they know it’s a necessity, they may be reluctant to make the move because they are in denial about their abilities. As seniors age, their abilities continue to decrease, making it less safe for them to be at home alone.

According to Diane Reier, Lifestyle Specialist at Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, a senior living community in Prospect Heights, IL., when parents are living alone, it’s natural for them to want to keep living independently. “To say that many seniors decide it’s time for assisted living as soon as they need extra care would be untrue,” says Diane. “Many put off the move as long as they possibly can because they feel as though they are leaving a large part of their life behind. While this may be true, they are actually gaining a more fulfilling life by making the move to assisted living, but it may take them some time to see that. In order to help your loved one realize their life will be enhanced by moving to a service-rich community, it can help to identify when it may be time to choose assisted living and begin the discussion from there.”

Signs It’s Time to Make a Move

Many times, adult children know when it’s time for their parent to make the move, even if they doesn’t see it. This doesn’t mean, however, that everyone knows the signs that a move may be in the near future. Consider some of the following found in an article titled, 11 Signs It Might Be Time for Assisted Living by Paula Spencer Scott, senior health writer and author of Surviving Alzheimer’s: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers.

  • Recent accidents. Has your loved one fallen recently or had a health scare such as a stroke, heart attack or pneumonia? According to the article, as loved ones age, the likelihood of accidents happening again increases.

  • Are they having slower recovery times? When your parent gets sick, do you notice that it takes them much longer than it should for them to get better? Do their illnesses often develop into another sickness that could have been prevented? Do their health conditions tend to worsen and leave them needing more care? If so, assisted living may be a good option for them.

  • Your parent doesn’t take care of themself. If you notice your parent is losing weight or gaining weight rapidly, no longer wants to shower or wears the same clothes multiple times, it may be a sign they can no longer live on their own. Pay close attention to their appearance in order to determine if they are fit to live independently.

  • Do you notice signs of depression? If your loved one no longer wants to associate with friends or neighbors and begins to cut back on their interests, it may indicate that they are depressed. If this is because your loved one can no longer drive and can’t find a way to continue the things they love, the personalized programming and opportunities for social interaction at an assisted living community could greatly benefit them.

Understand that it might be hard for your parent to realize they need to move. Ease into the conversation slowly, as they may be resistant at first. They may not want to talk about assisted living at all, but over time, they may begin to open to discussion. Having the conversation about assisted living can be disheartening and stressful at first, but it’s important to stick with it and be patient.

Supporting Your Parents in Their Move

When parents accept or decide for themselves that it’s time to move to assisted living, it’s important to support them in their transition. This can be done in a number of ways. According to AARP® and AgingCare®, these can include:

  1. Helping your parents determine what they want and need. Is your parent a big fan of sports and likes to watch the game with friends? Perhaps they’d like a community with a sports bar or pub. Do they like to keep an exercise routine? Then a gym is a must. If they like to go on outings but can’t drive, the community should offer transportation for the residents. It’s important to identify your loved one’s interests and desires in order to choose an assisted living community they will love. Make sure the community offers the level of care and support your loved one needs as well.

  2. Visiting assisted living communities and helping them choose. Tour a range of communities with your loved one. Consider both those that are close by and those that may be a little further. Do not choose a community just because it’s closer to home if it won’t fit your parent’s wants and needs. Tour multiple communities and narrow down your loved one’s options into their top picks. Visit them again to get a feel for which your loved one may like and fit at the most.

  3. Assisting them with breaking down finances. Help your loved one find the best community for their budget. Meet with financial advisors, talk to specialists at the assisted living communities your parent could potentially move into and try to figure out if the community has funding options. Be sure to ask what is included in their levels of care so you and your parent aren’t blindsided when the cost is higher than you thought it’d be.

  4. Being there for them throughout the transition. The move to an assisted living community can be tough for anyone, but it’s especially important for you to be patient with your parent. Giving up the freedom of independent living isn’t easy, even when they know a full, fun and engaging lifestyle awaits them. Be there for them to talk to and be sure to be understanding. They need your support.

  5. Keeping in touch, but giving them space to adjust. Once your parent moves, it may take them a little time to make friends and get used to the community. Refrain from spending too much time with them so they have an opportunity to get acclimated to their new home. Be sure to talk to your parent and check in to help them get more comfortable and help them feel more secure. Don’t be afraid to talk to the staff either, as they can give you good insight as to how your loved one is adjusting.

Don’t forget to talk to the assisted living staff, including your loved one’s care team. Letting their team know what your parent likes and dislikes as well as programs your loved one may like to participate in can help them to better get to know your parent and make them feel more comfortable.

Helping Families Live Well Beyond Ordinary

For more information or guidance on how to best support your parent in their move from independent living to assisted living, contact us at 847-243-6920. We’d be happy to help support you and your family through this journey.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also welcome you to read our recent blog articles on current caregiver and memory care topics.  

Live Well. Age Well. Be Well.

Offering Independent, Assisted Living and A Knew Day Memory Support, Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights is a distinctive senior living community designed to offer seniors residing in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs area a fresh alternative to “typical” senior living communities.

Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights provides residents with the ideal balance of personalized support, dignified privacy and enhanced independence complemented by luxurious amenities and our life-enriching, award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living®.

Managed by Pathway to Living®, an innovator in senior living, Aspired Living® offers the choice of a private studio or a one- or two-bedroom apartment and the beauty of a brand new community, stunningly appointed and decorated for unsurpassed comfort and style by the award-winning senior living design firm, Thoma-Holec Design, Inc.

For more information, please call Diane or Janette, Lifestyle Specialists, at 847-243-6920.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.