Telling your parents that they need assisted living works best when the conversation begins early on and is pursued with respect, love and honest listening on your part. If your parent has lost significant cognitive function or has medical difficulties, the process may need to speed up, but otherwise, you can draw out the discussion to help your parent accept the decision more easily.

Initial Tips for Talking About Assisted Living

Before you start talking to your parents about assisted living, do your research. You should know something about assisted living communities in your area, the services they provide and the activities available. Learn about the various levels of care and read about how other people have handled the conversation about assisted living. The more you know, the better able you’ll be to talk to your loved one in a meaningful way.

When you first approach the question of assisted living, you might start with a question. You could ask something like, “Do you have any ideas about what you might do if you ever need more care or help?” Then honestly listen to your parents’ reply. Always respect your loved ones’ concerns, and let them know that what they think is important to you. At this point, you might bring up the possibility of assisted living and share some of what you’ve researched. Focus on the benefits of an assisted living community but also acknowledge the possible drawbacks while pointing out that the pros outweigh the cons. If you run into too much resistance, drop the subject for the moment.

A Deeper Conversation About Assisted Living

When you approach the possibility of assisted living again, try to take the conversation to a deeper level. This time, express your concerns about your loved ones’ current health and living situation. Without being offensive, point out things that have been slipping lately. You might notice that your mom has had difficulties keeping the house clean or that your dad can no longer mow the lawn. Ask if your loved one wouldn’t appreciate having those chores taken care of without having to worry about them.

As the conversation progresses, bring up the amenities of assisted living, but be careful not to turn the discussion into a sales pitch. Openly talk about finances, feelings, memories and changes. Again, always be respectful and loving, and listen carefully to your parents’ concerns. If your parents are still resistant at this point, you might bring in a trusted friend, pastor or doctor to continue the conversation. If all goes well, your parents will agree that they need assisted living, and you can start the transition process. Otherwise, you may have to wait and try again. If a loved one is truly unsafe in a living situation but still refuses to move, you should talk to an elder care lawyer.