Talking To Parents About Assisted Living

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Talking To Parents About Assisted LivingImage Source

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than watching your parents’ health deteriorate to the point that they need help with their daily needs. While you may believe that you have the answer for them – an assisted living facility – you may not be too sure how to approach them about it.

Whether you know it or not, your parents’ major lifestyle change first begins with you. Becoming knowledgeable about assisted living and helping your parents understand how they will benefit from it, may make them feel more confident about the move.

What is assisted living?

Assisted living, also called residential care, offers services for older adults in need of help with daily tasks, such as bathing, preparing meals, dressing, and grooming. An assisted living facility is not a nursing home where full-time medical professionals are available. Though some residential care homes have access to nurses when necessary. Residents of assisted living communities, like the one at, maintain a very active lifestyle.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, 733,300 people in the U.S. lived in assistant living facilities in 2010. The NCHS’ National Survey of Residential Care Facilities also found that more than half of the residents were 85 years old and over, and received help with three or more activities, of which dressing and bathing were the most common.

Having “the talk”

If you need to talk with your elderly parents about this topic, the following suggestions may make the process go more smoothly:

1. Locate local residential facilities. You will want to make sure that the facility is relatively close to you so that it will not be an inconvenience to visit. Also, compare places to determine which ones best meet your parents’ needs.

2. Discuss the move with other family members. It’s important for your siblings to have their say, but ultimately agree with the plan.

3. Talk with your parents. Clear all schedules and eliminate interruptions as much as possible. This discussion may take some time.

4. Pitch the move. Tell your parents the concerns you and your siblings have about them. Be specific in stating the facts then offer them the solution – assisted living.

5. Give your parents time. Let this “sink in” and allow your parents time to weigh the pros and cons of this issue.

Don’t be surprised if your parents balk at the idea at first. After all, moving away from a familiar environment is not easy at any age. Also, admitting that they need help may be rather humbling for your parents, especially since they have lived independently for the majority of their lives.

There’s one thing you can do to ease your parents’ minds and that is to let them know that you support them every step of the way. Knowing that you will be there when they need you, may help your parents embrace the change so that they can move forward.

LaGeris Underwood Bell writes this article with millions of her fellow baby-boomers in mind. She hopes they and their children will find a way to make wise lifestyle decisions.


  1. Alot of parents want to live by themselves or with family. Sometimes its just not an option to beable to do that and live at home. They may need someone to help them with medications or other things. Assisted living is one suggestion . I agree give them time to think it thru – they shouldnt have to feel like your trying to get rid of them as some of them do. Explain why it will be better for them . It is a hard decision for all of us.

  2. It’s never easy convincing an elderly parent to consider assisted living. Thanks for sharing these wonderful suggestions.

  3. Until last January, my Mom, age 86, was still living in an apt (not assisted living) and she was becoming very forgetful and often leaving the oven on and burning her food, etc. She actually decided on her own, that it was time for her to move to an assisted living facility. We were all thankful for that because me and my siblings were just about to approach her on that subject. She’s very happy living at her assisted living home.

  4. I hope I can always keep family home, close to me. I took care of others for years. If I need help, I would try to get that help, home to us, with me there too. It’s never really easy.

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