Whether your aging parent has lost a spouse, needs to be closer to family or is experiencing major changes in their health, making a move to assisted living is not an easy decision. 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. While some older adults meet this crossroads with acceptance and understanding, many may react with resistance and even anger.
Tips for Moving a Resistant Parent
Maybe you’ve already started the conversation with your aging parents about beginning the transition to a senior living community, or perhaps you’re prolonging the conversation out of fear of their reaction. Whatever your situation might be, there are a few guidelines and suggestions that many adult children find helpful in preparing to discuss the future with their loved ones. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Understand their hesitations. Aging can be a difficult process for everyone involved, including aging parents and especially their adult children. It’s important to navigate the conversation of moving with empathy and compassion. In addition to declining physical health, many older adults also experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Learning how to talk to your aging parents about their needs while also acknowledging their feelings is crucial to good communication.
- Create a timeline. While you need to be patient, creating a realistic timeframe is integral to making this work. Discuss with siblings, if relevant, or any other family members that will participate in helping see this through.
- Discuss. Be transparent about the need for a change. Explain why this needs to happen quickly and how it will alleviate stress and anxiety for you and the family. Discuss the benefits of living in a community. Focus on how it will impact their lives positively with the addition of new friends, socialization, and programming. While we know it isn’t easy, someone may have to elect to be the “bad guy” to say the move is for them and not doing this to them. It could also be set up as a temporary placement for respite or a short term stay. This approach may lessen the anger and resistance.
- Visit communities. If you have not begun, start looking at communities. Do the initial research yourself and narrow it to two choices. Relay details about your loved one to the teams at the final communities – needs, desires, preferences, objections, hobbies, and food preferences. Arrange a visit for a personalized experience. Afterward, sit down and go through the pros and cons and the idea of moving overall.
- Utilize your village. Involve close friends and family in the reasons for the move. Be sure they know your loved one’s objections and how they can help support the benefits. Discuss the hurdles you are facing.
- Be patient. Setbacks will occur but follow the timeline. Validate their concerns and help them overcome objections. Redirect with positive reinforcement about the benefits of a move and keep them involved in the decision.
- Community backup. The team at the community you’ve chosen is there to help with the transition. Utilize them to help things run more smoothly. Even after the move, there will be setbacks. Prepare yourself and your extended support group that the transition may take 3-6 months in order to see positive changes and your loved one thriving.
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
We understand that aging is a difficult process for many older adults and their children. Our residence offers two beautiful dining venues, 1802 Restaurant our formal dining room on the ground floor and ONYX Bistro our more casual dining location on the 17th floor SkyPark. Our Director of Experience curates a comprehensive calendar of experiences each week including “On the Town”, our Political, Broadway, and Author Series’, and residents enjoy ample opportunities for engagement and socialization.