How to Talk With Your Parents About Assisted Living
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Jonathan Perlman
April 1, 2019

It’s a fact of life that as people age, they eventually need someone to help care for them. And if you’ve started noticing signs that your parents may need more care, you may be wondering how to broach the topic of assisted living with them.

Although such conversations may seem difficult, you can make it a lot easier by having a plan for how to approach the subject. Here are some tips for how to talk with your parents about assisted living:

  1. Include your siblings.

If you have siblings (or other close family members who should have a say in your parents’ care), have a discussion with them before bringing it up with your parents. Ideally, you want to all come to an agreement about how the family will handle your parents’ changing needs. If there are disagreements on core issues, it is best to work those out before going to your parents. That way, you can provide a united front when talking with your parents and not end up working against each other.

  1. Start early.

It is easier to talk about assisted living when it is just an eventual possibility, rather than an immediate and pressing need. You can start by talking with your parents about their future plans, and whether they have considered what they will do when or if they ever need a higher level of care. Starting early also gives them (and you) more time to make plans and evaluate options.

  1. Expect multiple conversations.

Choosing to move into assisted living, and determining which assisted living community to use, is a big decision. It’s not a decision that someone is likely to make in the course of one conversation. Trying to cover everything at once can result in information overload, and create undue pressure on your parents to make a quick decision. Instead, start with a basic discussion and have follow-up conversations spread out over weeks, months, or even years. Treat it as a process, not an event.

  1. Talk in person.

If possible, it is best to have at least your initial conversation in person, not over the phone. It is much easier to communicate face-to-face, where each person can visually gauge what everyone else is thinking or feeling. Choose a time and a place where everyone is present and you can talk without interruption.

  1. Do your homework.

Before you talk with your parents, you need to at least know the basics of assisted living and have some idea of the options that are available. Finances, location, and quality of care are all important considerations that you know will come up at some point in your conversations. Your parents are sure to have questions, and you want to have the answers (or at least know where to find them).

  1. Speak out of love.

Make sure your parents understand that you are looking out for their interests, and only want what is best for them. You’re not trying to sell them on assisted living, per se; you’re just trying to ensure they are taken care of and help them make the best decision out of the available choices. And when you present it as a positive (which, if assisted living is the right choice for them, it is a positive), they are far more likely to consider making the move.

  1. Let them make the decision.

Don’t make the decision for them ahead of time and come into the conversation expecting to tell your parents what to do. Instead, discuss the different options with them and go over the pros and cons of each. Take them to tour assisted living communities, if possible, so they can understand all the amenities and activities that will be available to them, and can decide for themselves where they feel most comfortable living.

At Tradition Senior Living, our assisted living communities provide a luxurious, welcoming experience that we like to say is “just like home—only better.” Feel free to bring your parents by for a tour, so they can see the best of what assisted living has to offer.

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