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How to prepare your loved one for assisted living

For assisted living

It is never easy to approach the subject of placing a loved one in a senior assisted living residence. You will almost always be met with defiance and sometimes sheer rage. Even that rage can be a sign of advancing memory issues and one of the reasons you are bringing it up today. Yet your mother or father or other loved one may be rebelling at the fact that they are no longer able to do all the things they once did easily.

It’s important to realize that they are probably not directing that anger at you but at life itself. Keep that in mind as you begin looking at how to prepare them with a minimal amount of pain and upset.

A battle fought closer to home

As you prepare yourself to talk to a loved one about the benefits of assisted living for them, you must first recognize that you are also waging a war closer to home. You are doing battle with your own conscience and your own sense of guilt for not being able to take them into your household. It doesn’t matter why. It just matters that you can’t, and they are not safe living alone anymore.

Once you’ve won the battle with yourself, it’s time to bring that battle to the front lines. It’s time to tell them about ideas you have for their future and see what they ultimately decide on.

Keep it positive and upbeat

Once you begin talking about what you see as the best and safest residential setting for them and how it hurts you that it’s come to this, you’ve already lost the battle. They will see this as a weakness on your part and if you are so upset about it, how could it possibly be good for them?

Do you really not love them that much? Instead, put on a cheerful face, not exuberant, just happy that you found an assisted living St Louis Hills Senior Living Community that has loads of activities and just as much freedom to pursue them. That’s what they fear most, losing their independence. That’s the key to winning the battle and once you’ve got them amenable to listening, schedule a visit so they can see for themselves.

Remind them that you ARE there for them

Since you are around often enough to notice the worrisome things they are doing lately, or not doing as the case may be, they know you care. Whether you are around daily, every other day, or even weekly, they know they are important to you.

They know you keep your word when you promise to bring Chinese food on your next visit or that you will bring them to the park next Sunday. You rarely need to reschedule, if ever, and that’s something you hope they will remember when you bring it up. It’s not a matter of “See how loyal and loving I am?” It’s more about reminding them that you ARE there for them and you will continue to be there in their new home.

As one final point, please don’t let them draw you into a heated battle. Try to stay calm and reassuring. It may take several such talks, but at some point, they will listen. Stay strong, calm, and motivated. You are, after all, really thinking of what’s best for them and that’s all the reassurance you, personally, need.

3 thoughts on “How to prepare your loved one for assisted living”

  1. All great advice, dear Christy.
    Do you have advice for how to prepare one’s own self for an aged love one going into assisted living?
    I know we have to be there for them, support them and love them.
    Yet, there are many emotions and thoughts we have about ourselves, when this is a reality.
    If your loved one is in their 80’s, and you are 60, then there must be many thoughts about one’s self being there one day.

    I’m not trying to take the light off our loved ones.
    Yet, there is a certain terror on both sides.
    Am I making any sense? xx

    1. Hi Resa, yes, your words make sense. Seeing aging loved ones makes us think about our own senior years to come, especially if retirement is around the corner. I looked through my senior and assisted living articles and see that many of them are about helping aging loved ones and the ones for the self are about aging gracefully or activities at care homes. But you’re right, there’s no writeup on preparing ourselves for that transition. Note to self to write about it soon! Or, would you be interested in submitting a guest post? No pressure, either way I want to cover the topic xx Thanks for pointing out the need for this writeup!

    2. You’ve been giving great advice, Christy! I’d like to see what you’ll come up with on this topic. I agree, it should be covered! xx

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