How can I convince my mother that it's time to make the move to an assisted living facility?

2 answers | Last updated: Nov 06, 2012
Connie asked...

Dad is 87, Mom 86. He has been primamry caregiver for 2+ years. His health had failed and he is ready to move to assisted living. She is living in the land of denial about his health and does not want to go, even if staying at home will kill him. We want to move them closer to me, (they are 200 miles away now) so I can help with Dr. appts, grocery, etc. HELP------how do we convince her to make this move peacefully?

Expert Answers

Nan Hayes is founder of, the national resource network of Certified Relocation and Transition Specialists for seniors, and President of RightSized Living, a senior home transition service in Illinois.

First and foremost, consider all the options for your parents.

You have indicated your father is ready to move to assisted living.

Is that based on an assessment of his daily activities, advice from a medical professional or licensed caregiver? If a proper assessment has not been done, perhaps now if the time to take that step so everyone in the family understands current care requirements.

Today there are a great many services that can help you parent’s stay in their home and allow you some peace of mind about their day-to-day welfare.

Moving is extremely stressful for older adults and can have its own impact on their health if not handled properly, so be sure you have taken time to have a frank, calm, open conversation with your parents to explore their concerns and discuss alternatives.

By exploring options and the availability of local services, such as home care, day care or homemaker services, you may be able to find some common ground and establish a long term plan.

Moving to Assisted Living has significant financial, psychological and social impact on both your parents, especially if they are moving miles away from friends and community. If health allows, sometimes a transition like this is better done in steps.

Your parents may be more comfortable starting with help at home as you work together to create a plan for transition to senior living community.

You are fortunate that your parent’s care is not currently in crisis and because of that you have a great opportunity to work as a team to create the best possible scenario for them.

Listen first.

Community Answers

Jennifer meagher rn answered...

Hi Connie,

I am a geriatric care manager. You may want to hire one from your area to help you and your parents. This is a real tough spot you are all in, particularly your father, who wants to move, while his beloved wife wants him to stay home. Nan gave great advice.

Let me add some more: Does your mother listen to anyone? If the answer is "no".... you are hard pressed to get her to budge. If th is is the case,  get a geriatric care manager, have a consultation, and make two plans. 1. Emergency button necklace or wristband for both. Chip in and give it as a gift. 2. Decide with your GCM what level of care your parents are at, and what they can afford. Fill out applications at the appropriate communities, so if / when a crisis occurs, you are ready.

Ask to meet with your parent's doctor and get his/her opinion as well. Compromise with your mother first. Is there SOMETHING that could be tried to keep them at home? In this way, you've tried to meet your mother's wishes. If the attempt fails, she has seen first hand that something different needs to be tried.

Keep in mind that your mother is frightened and that she loves you and your dad. Be sure you tell her how much you love her too. It is hard to be older and seeing decline. It can even be harder to be the adult child feeling helpless.

Once you have some plans you'll feel a bit better. Honest.

Good luck.