My Senior Loved One is Refusing Assisted Living—What Should I Do?

My Senior Loved One is Refusing Assisted Living—What Should I Do?

If your senior loved one is having trouble living at home alone, you probably need to consider some type of alternative care, such as long-term assisted living. Whether your aging parent has become more forgetful than normal, is experiencing mobility issues, is neglecting personal hygiene, or is skipping meals, it’s important that you act sooner than later to prevent a serious injury or illness.

It is common for older adults to feel uncertain about moving from their family home to a senior living community. They may fear loss of independence or control, feel shame or embarrassment, or fail to even recognize their diminishing physical and mental capabilities.  To help families arrive at an informed decision together, we’ve listed five strategies to help navigate these sensitive conversations.

1. Be patient

It’s not uncommon for your loved one to be resistant to discussing a future in senior living during your initial conversation. Always approach every conversation with empathy, understanding, and optimism. Begin every discussion by establishing that everyone is on the same team and wants what’s best for your senior loved one.

The decision to move into assisted living is life-altering and may feel overwhelming and scary. Continue to offer help, love, and support, and in their own time and on their own terms, your aging parents will realize how beneficial additional assistance could be for their life.

2. Emphasize the positives.

When talking with your loved one about long-term care, it is important that you highlight all the positive things about senior living communities. Avoid discussing their limitations, and instead stress what matters most to them. For example, if your loved one associates assisted living with a loss of control, focus on ways that a community is a supportive environment that promotes autonomy. Talk about important features and services of senior living care, including:

  • Maintenance-free living
  • Resort-style amenities, such as pools, game rooms, salons, fitness centers, and theatres
  • Multiple on-site dining options
  • Regularly planned events and activities with other residents
  • Around-the-clock care and support when they need it

3. Schedule a tour.

Setting up in-person tours is a great way to get a real-life feel for a community. You and your parent can speak to staff members and other residents, check out living arrangements, and get an up-close look at what community living entails.

4. Consider respite care services.

Some communities offer respite services that can be used as a trial stay so that your loved one can gain a first-hand experience at life as a resident. This is an excellent way to ease any fears or concerns your loved one has about the transition to assisted living while highlighting all that a community has to offer. During their short-term stay, your loved one will:

  • Get to know other residents and staff members.
  • Gain access to all the amenities, activities, services, and support the community has to offer. 
  • Experience the residences and sleeping arrangements available within the community.
  • Enjoy a variety of meals and dining options.
  • Get a feel for the care, culture, and environment of the community.

5. Ask other family members for help.

If your loved one is especially resistant to outside help, or if your relationship with your older parent is strained, enlist the help of someone they trust. Getting help from the community around you, such as another family member, close friend, pastor, or doctor, not only reinforces how much people care, but also demonstrates to your parent that your concerns are valid.

Assisted Living at The Oaks at Bartlett

At The Oaks, we’re here to help families make the transition to assisted living as smooth as possible. To set up a tour, contact The Oaks today. We look forward to meeting you.