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How to Speak to Family About Moving into Independent Living

The conversation about moving older loved ones into an assisted living facility is something that many caregivers dread as the topic is often met with resistance. However, there are many reasons why it might be necessary or helpful for an aging loved one to move to independent living. Below are a few tips to help you to have a reasonable, low-stress talk about the topic.

  1. Be empathetic and open-minded.

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Understand that older adults are often not able to do things as well as they once could, and this might make them feel a lack of control. This feeling of helplessness may make a loved one lash out or double down on not wanting to move from home.

Rather than fighting, empathize with your loved one and offer to explore other solutions such as in-home care as well.

  1. Take the conversation slowly.

This is an emotional topic. Remember that it doesn’t have to be hashed out all at once. To keep stress levels low and make the idea of moving into independent-living feel less threatening, try bringing it up casually but not pressing the issue until your loved one seems receptive to talking about it.

  1. Address concerns with honesty.

Your loved one may worry that there will be no privacy or room for individuality in assisted living. He or she may have mistaken ideas about what these communities are like, or there may be concerns about friends and family not visiting.

Allow your loved one to voice every concern without interruption, and offer honest reassurances. Reassure them that there are many freedoms offered in independent living, including the ability to see friends and family on a regular basis.

  1. Don’t be afraid to enlist help.

If your loved one has a trusted doctor, asking him or her to broach the subject could be helpful as well. Your loved one likely gives a lot of weight to the doctor’s expert advice, so if the doctor is in agreement that community living would be beneficial, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Having “The Talk” Doesn’t Need to Be Stressful

It may feel uncomfortable to bring up the idea of assisted living with your loved one, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be tense or stressful. Take it slowly, and make sure you’re both communicating well so that you can do what’s best for everyone.