Coming to the realization that your aging parent can no longer continue living in the independent manner that they have been accustomed to can be a difficult thing to accept. Perhaps you only recently noticed that they aren’t as capable of maintaining a house all on their own, or maybe you have sensed a decline in their mental or physical faculties that is cause for concern.
Bear in mind that however difficult it might be for you to accept that a change needs to be made to your parent’s style of living, such a realization will be even more challenging for your parent to accept. Whether it is a matter of not wishing to surrender independence or apprehensions about what life in an assisted living community will be like, there are many things that can result in pushback from your parent over the entire situation.
The best thing that you can do is to approach the situation with patience and sensitivity. The health and safety of your parent is the top priority, so it is important that you are clear in getting the point across that a move is necessary. However, there are some things that you can do to make the transition not only easier for them to accept but also simpler to undergo.
With that in mind, here are a few things that you can do so as to help your parent transition to an assisted living community.
Involve Them in the Process
When you determine that it is time for your parent to move to an assisted living community, bringing up the topic with them is often the most difficult part of the process. It is more than likely that they will feel as though you are trying to take away their independence, and in some cases, you might even find that they feel attacked.
To facilitate a smooth transition, it is important to emphasize that your purpose in proposing this change is to ensure that their health and safety are looked after going forward. As opposed to being an attack, you are actually looking to improve their life and help them to be happier and more comfortable in their own home.
One of the best ways to help with this aspect of the transition is to involve them in the process. In doing so, you help them to feel as though they have some control over the decision in general and that their voice matters.
For instance, if you are considering a community like Belmont Senior Living, reach out and arrange a tour for you and your parent. Encourage them to ask as many questions as possible and voice any concerns that they might have about the move. The more you can help your parent to feel heard and to be involved in the process, the more comfortable with the transition they will be in general.
Choose the Right Location
Another issue that tends to arise when the topic of moving into an assisted living community comes up is that an aging loved one can misunderstand the situation and feel as though they are simply being set aside by their family. Even though the fact of the matter is that you are trying to provide for their health, comfort, and general wellbeing in the best manner possible, you should still take care to ensure them that you are still going to be just as involved in their life as ever.
One way that you can help to convey this message is to choose a community that is ideally located for visitors. Perhaps there is even an option that is located closer to where you live. Being closer to friends and loved ones might even make your parent excited about moving into a particular community.
The right location might also involve a closer proximity to certain local amenities that your parent enjoys. Being closer to places that they like to visit, such as an arboretum or certain shopping facilities, can help to boost their excitement about moving.
Handle the Heavy Lifting
No matter what stage in life one is in, the idea of moving to a new home is one that isn’t without its fair share of stress. Not only is there the matter of selling your current home, but packing, organizing, and cleaning out a house is a stressful and daunting process. Such stresses can weigh on the mind of your parent when the topic of transitioning into an assisted living community comes up.
Even though you also might find such matters stressful, you will be much better equipped to handle that stress than your parent. It is important that you and your other family members take on as much of the heavy lifting involved with moving your parent as possible.
This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be involved in this part of the process at all. They should be given a say about what personal items and furniture accompany them to their new home and what things should be replaced or updated. You might even take a week or two to help them design and furnish their new home perfectly to their taste.
Bear in mind the fact that packing up and clearing out your parent’s home is going to be an emotion process for them. Because they might not have as much space at their disposal in their new home, they will most likely need to part with some things or place them in storage. This can be difficult to accept and even cause them to relapse a bit in their resolve to move.
Be sure to practice patience during this part of the process. It will take more time than you might wish to budget for it, but the more you can help your parent to feel heard and to validate their emotions and feelings, the better off they will be in the long run. Keep the focus on their new home as much as possible.