If you're involved in the daily care of an aging parent or another senior loved one, there may come a day when you can no longer meet their needs at home. It is an unfortunate reality many families find themselves in. As a family, you might decide that an assisted living community is the best option for the senior and for you.
Unfortunately, your loved one might feel very differently about the matter.
In fact, some older adults are strongly opposed to moving to assisted living during initial conversations. If the older adult you are caring for is one of them, the key to changing their mind likely lies in understanding why they feel the way they do.
Why Seniors Resist a Move to Assisted Living
However necessary it might be, moving to any new setting can be a daunting and unsettling prospect. Although you may think you understand a senior loved one's resistance to moving, it might be necessary to dig deeper to gain better insight.
Here are five of the most common reasons older people have for not wanting to move to an assisted living community:
- Leaving the family home: The senior doesn’t want to leave the home they've worked so hard to build and that has so many warm memories attached to it. It may seem like they are leaving a piece of them behind.
- Fear of the unknown: An older family member might object to moving to an assisted living community based on a fear of the unknown. While change is difficult for many of us, the older we are the tougher it is to adapt. Keep that in mind as you work your way through this process.
- Believe in old stereotypes: Some seniors have misperceptions about assisted living communities. Many times these are based on the old, institutional style nursing homes that were so common when this generation of seniors was young. They don’t understand how vibrant life is in today’s assisted living communities.
- Perceived losses: The loss of freedom, privacy and independence also ranks high on most seniors list of concerns. Older adults mistakenly believe they will lose these after a move.
- Finances: Many people believe assisted living communities are only for the rich. So an older adult might think they can't afford the cost of assisted living. The truth is, assisted living can be an affordable solution because many of their current home expenses are included in the basic fees.
You'll notice that all of these concerns have some degree of validity, especially when you look at the situation from your older loved one's personal perspective. So it’s important to walk through each concern together.
Show Empathy for Your Loved One's Feelings and Fears
There's no question that leaving their home after decades spent there might be emotionally difficult. And it's important to display empathy about their feelings and fears.
Instead of trying to change their mind about how much they will miss the family home, talk about the benefits of this move. Emphasizing the positives -- including the improved quality of life for both of you -- might help your loved one recognize assisted living as a viable option.
You can also take extra steps to ensure their memories of "home" come with them. Create a scrapbook with of photos of their home spanning the years that they lived there. Make a video that combines images of their garden during each season. These examples can help the senior continue to feel connected to their past.
You can take a similar approach to overcoming other objections. Once you acknowledge their concerns in a sensitive and compassionate way, the discussion will likely become much easier.
You can also demonstrate to them how some of their worries are based on misconceptions, while others are offset by the inherent benefits of assisted living.
Vitality Senior Living is Here to Help
We created a resource to help you do just that. You can download our guide for making a smooth transition to senior living at no cost. And if you still have questions, a Vitality Senior Living team member will be happy to answer them. Call us at your convenience!