Should they stay, or should they go?

February 16, 2017

When to talk to your loved one about assisted livingiStock-516950418.jpg

Your mom still lives in the house where you grew up. It's filled with memories of family and friends. You know your mom loves that house. But today she said something you've never heard her say before: "Sometimes I feel like this house is too much for me."

Maybe it's time to talk to your mom about moving to an assisted living facility.

What's assisted living?

Assisted living facilities are like apartments for older people who are having some difficulty living on their own—but who don't need the intensive care of a nursing home. The apartments may have kitchens, but the facility might also serve meals in a communal dining area. The facility might offer transportation services and some health care monitoring.

Assisted living might be a good option for a loved one who:

  • Can't take care of a house and yard.
  • Is unsteady on his or her feet.
  • Has difficulty driving or isn't a safe driver.
  • Has a chronic condition like diabetes, arthritis or emphysema.
  • Has poor vision or hearing.
  • Doesn't have a nearby support network.
  • Is vulnerable to telephone, computer or door-to-door fraud.

Tips for starting the conversation

The best time to talk to a loved one about assisted living is before it's necessary. AARP offers these tips for starting the conversation:

  • Mention a friend whose parent is needing in-home help. Ask if that kind of help has crossed your loved one's mind.
  • Express concern. "I worry about you carrying laundry up and down those stairs."
  • Ask if your loved one feels overwhelmed by housework and yardwork.
  • Ask your loved one if he or she feels comfortable behind the wheel. Have they ever considered senior taxi or van services?
  • Ask if your loved one has ever thought about living somewhere else.

Unless you have serious safety concerns, it's OK to drop the subject if the talk doesn't go well. You can bring it up again later. In the meantime, research resources in your loved one's area to help him or her remain in the house.

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