Senior parent holding hands with their adult child

Tips for Moving a Resistant Parent to Assisted Living

Inspīr Senior Living Team

There are many different reasons for adult children to approach their loved ones about making the transition to an assisted living community. The time for assisted living may come when your parent loses a spouse, experiences a decline in mobility or cognitive skills. Many adult children are faced with the reality that their parent is no longer safe in their current living environment. There are a number of different reasons why an older adult may not be safe at home. You may notice your loved one falling frequently, starting fires in the kitchen, forgetting to pay their bills or take their medication, becoming socially isolated or paranoid, or ignoring basic daily tasks such as taking a bath or preparing meals.

Whatever the reason may be, the truth is that making the transition can be really difficult both logistically and emotionally. While assisted living requires a physical move, it also provides services, such as planned activities and medical staff, that keep residents safe and improve their overall quality of life. However, deciding when to make the transition can be difficult for the whole family, especially when an aging parent is resistant to the move.


Signs it’s Time for Assisted Living

Many older adults see the transition into assisted living as a loss of their independence. However, this isn’t always the case. Assisted living communities allow older adults to reserve their energy for things they enjoy, enabling them to stay independent for longer. Here are some signs that it might be time to discuss a transition to assisted living with your loved one:


  • Inability to care for oneself. If your loved one is unable to maintain their living space, bathe themselves or complete basic daily tasks, it’s time to consider assisted living. A lot of family members take on the responsibility of caregiving without understanding how demanding that can be, especially when they have their own families to care for each day. Assisted living facilities have caregivers on staff who will make sure their residents maintain proper hygiene, a healthy diet, and live in a clean environment.
  • Trouble managing finances. Many aging seniors have difficulty with managing their financial responsibilities such as paying bills on time or falling victim to financial scams. If you notice your loved one is ignoring unpaid bills or making unusual purchases, it may be a sign that something else is going on with their health.
  • Worsening medical conditions. If your loved one is falling consistently and becoming injured as a result, assisted living could provide a safer environment. In addition, many older adults are managing one or more chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s disease, which can also impact one’s ability to live independently. 
  • Lack of socialization. According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Aging, nearly 17% of all Americans aged 65 or older are isolated due to their location, living status, language or disability. Loneliness and isolation can have negative long-term effects on one’s health, such as cognitive decline, increased mortality, and feelings of depression. Socialization is at the core of assisted living facilities. Planned activities, social dining areas and one-on-one interaction are everyday occurrences at most communities.


Tips for Moving a Resistant Parent

You’ve recognized that your parent or loved one would benefit from the support and amenities of an assisted living residence. However, they are resistant to this transition, potentially expressing anger. Whether due to the loss of a spouse, declining health, or social isolation, the time for change has arrived. While resistance is understandable, with guidance and thoughtful planning, this process can proceed smoothly.

Establish a timeline: While patience is crucial, creating a realistic timeline is integral. Consult with involved family members to ensure a coordinated approach.

Open dialogue: Transparently explain the need for this transition and the advantages it offers in alleviating stress for all. Highlight the community’s benefits—new social connections, engaging activities, and services promoting wellbeing. Candidly acknowledge the difficult, but frame it as an opportunity, not an imposition.

Explore options: Conduct preliminary research into communities aligning with your loved one’s preferences and needs. Narrow selections to two tailored visits, ensuring a personalized experience. Afterward, review the pros and cons together.

Enlist support: Involve close friends and family in reinforcing the rationale behind this decision. Ensure they understand potential objections to provide consistent reassurance.

Exercise patience: Expect setbacks, but adhere to the timeline. Validate concerns, redirect with positive reinforcement, and maintain their involvement throughout.

Utilize resources: The chosen community’s staff is equipped to ease this transition. Leverage their expertise, even after moving in, as adjustments may take 3-6 months.


Legal Options When a Parent Refuses to Move

If you feel like you have completely run out of options when it comes to helping your loved one get the support they need, you may need to look into legal options. According to AgingCare, the only way you can legally force your loved ones to move is obtain guardianship. Guardianship is a complex and serious process that can only be established over a person who is incapable of making sound decisions and caring for themselves. Obtaining guardianship is a lengthy process that involves going to court and seeking legal counsel. However, it can prove helpful for individuals who firmly believe their loved one is in danger.


Many older adults choose to name a power of attorney (POA) as a part of their care plan. A medical POA can make healthcare-based decisions on an individual’s behalf while a financial POA can make financial decisions on one’s behalf. However, some individuals may mistakenly believe that a POA gives them the authority to force their loved one into a nursing home or assisted living community. This is simply not the case.


Making the Transition to Inspīr Senior Living

At Inspīr Senior Living, we understand that aging is a difficult process for many older adults and their children. We offer robust amenities that make the transition easier. Our teams are on site to provide support and advice to make the process easier.

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