When discussing future care plans for your older loved ones, it is not easy to approach the topic of assisted living. It is a significant change and may create a lot of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty for your loved ones. For many older adults, moving to a retirement community is a blow to their independence, and they may avoid the discussion altogether because they don’t like changes in their relationship with you. However, assisted living in Saint Johns, FL, can increase their independence and improve their way of life. Unfortunately, many families avoid this discussion until a situation necessitates a different level of care. In such instances, rushing through options and making last-minute decisions can cause frustrations, accusations, and anger. Fostering a collaborative and positive discussion about long-term care will make it easier and more pleasant for everyone. Here is a guide to talking to your loved one about assisted living.
Start Talking About Future Plans Early
Don’t wait for situations such as accidents or medical crises to force the start of this discussion. At those stages, your loved one may feel threatened or abandoned. Start having conversations early while your loved ones are still able and mentally alert so that you can get their input while hypothetically talking about the future. Make future plans an ongoing topic of discussion; you can bring it up casually and randomly, helping your loved one feel less fearful about the idea of senior living.
Research for Options Together
Keep your loved one involved in the research. It is where they will live, so it only makes sense to choose where and how they want to be cared for. Invite them to tour various retirement communities or visit friends and relatives already in senior living. Find out and discuss the different housing and living options and the multiple levels of care they provide. Research on long-term care insurance, financing, and downsizing. If they are eligible, find out about veterans’ benefits too. When your loved one gets to see how others thrive and with complete information, it may give them a sense of how things work. This will help them be more open to planning their future in assisted living.
Listen to Them
Listen to and empathize with why your loved one may prefer to remain at home throughout the discussion. They may not want or cannot express it, but they may be unprepared for changes and fear losing their independence. During these discussions, keeping their concerns in mind will allow you to answer their questions and respond to their objections more effectively. Remind them that moving to assisted living does not mean they will lose control of their daily lives. After settling in, most elderly discover they have more free time for activities they enjoy because housekeeping, laundry, and meals are taken care of.
Use Positive Tone and Language
When talking about assisted living, use non-threatening words in a positive tone. Using words such as “community” feels more welcoming than words such as “facility.” Talk about the “contemporary apartments” instead of “rooms” which can seem bleak. Focus on all the activities, social interaction, and amenities they can enjoy there, rather than personal care.