There comes a time in many people’s lives when they are no longer able to live safely at home. Unfortunately, they may not realize when this time comes. It may fall upon their children to suggest a move to an assisted living facility or nursing home. If you are concerned about what to do with aging parents, read this guide about how to convince parents to move.
SIGNS YOU NEED TO TALK
If you see any of these signs, it’s time to talk to your elderly parents about moving to assisted living. These are signs of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
MEMORY LOSS THAT DISRUPTS DAILY LIVING
Temporarily forgetting where you put the keys is one thing. Forgetting what they keys are for is something else. Another sign is asking same question multiple times. Some people have an increased need to rely on written notes or other reminders.
CONFUSION ABOUT TIME AND DATES
This goes beyond needing the occasional reminder of the day of the week. Some people will express confusion about when they or another person arrived at a place. They may be confused about something that is planned but not happening immediately.
PROBLEMS WITH VISION AND SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS
A common test for early stage Alzheimer’s is to ask the person to draw a picture of a clock. Those with the disease will often place the numbers out of order or all grouped in one quadrant of the circle.
FORGETTING TO PAY BILLS
If there is a pile of the same mail on the counter every time you come over, they may be forgetting or ignoring bills. Don’t wait until the electricity or heat gets shut off before you talk to them.
CHANGES IN CLEANING HABITS OR PERSONAL HYGIENE
Some seniors may have difficulty with cleaning tasks, or they may simply forget. If they appear to have neglected their daily personal hygiene routine, it’s time for a talk.
INABILITY TO MANAGE MEDICATIONS
Prescriptions may go unfilled. Medications may not be taken at the appropriate time or in the appropriate dosage. If so, act sooner rather than later. This can be a serious problem if a senior takes too much or too little of a prescribed medication.
A few other signs may include the following:
Trouble with speech – They may use the wrong word or make up a description rather than using a common word for something. They may stop in the middle of a sentence and not know how to continue.
Changes in mood or behavior – A once-patient parent may become irritated and short-tempered, even belligerent. This may be due to changes in the brain from dementia. It may also be a result of frustration about being unable to remember.
An inability to plan or solve problems – Some people have trouble working with numbers or following a recipe.
Trouble with familiar tasks – People may forget how to get to a familiar place or how to play a familiar game.
Your loved one may not display any of these signs. Yet there may be other signals that they are no longer able to live at home safely.
START THE CONVERSATION EARLY
No one likes to think about putting elderly parents in a nursing home, but it’s often necessary. Start the conversation about continuing care before your parents show these signs. Bringing it up early can pave the way for more difficult conversations later.
Ask your parents what they would want in an assisted living facility. Many of these facilities do a great job of engaging the residents. They offer interesting activities that are appropriate for seniors. They can greatly enhance the quality of life in the senior years.
Starting the conversation early means you will give your parents time to get used to the idea of moving. It will help you to plan how to convince your parents to move. You will also be able to include them in the decision-making process. If you don’t start early, you risk making a rushed decision.
This video includes some tips on how to convince parents to move.
UNDERSTAND THE OPTIONS
Moving elderly parents doesn’t mean they need to go to a nursing home. There are other options, some of which may be much more appealing to your senior parents. Knowing what they are is helpful if you are unsure how to convince your parents to move.
Independent living retirement communities consist of apartments designed for senior citizens. They often have many social clubs and amenities that appeal to this demographic. These communities may offer one or more meals per day to residents. They also often have housekeeping and other support services available on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Assisted living facilities offer more supervision. They have options like medication management and on-site health services. They may have apartments or single-or double-occupancy rooms. Many assisted living facilities have special services for those with memory impairment.
Nursing homes offer skilled nursing care for those with higher level medical needs. There is professional medical care available 24/7. Residents live in private or semi-private rooms. They can handle medical emergencies. Many offer hospice or other end-of-life care as well.
Some facilities offer all three of these levels on one campus. Many seniors move into the independent living area at first. If their health deteriorates, they may move to assisted living. When necessary, they can move into the skilled nursing facility. There is an easy transition between the three areas.
Still having trouble figuring out how to convince your elderly parents to move? Having a conversation about the various options available may be a good place to start.
It’s hard to know how to convince parents to move. But it’s easier if you have a good understanding of the kind of situation they will be moving to. Many seniors envision institutional buildings that are understaffed and depressing. The fact is there are many appealing facilities that offer impressive amenities.
If you’re still unsure how to convince your parents to move, arrange a visit. If you or your parents know someone who lives in one of these communities, stop in and see them. You don’t need to mention that you’re looking at options. Just let the resident do the talking, telling your parents what they like about where they are.
Your parents may suggest going to look at a retirement community. If they do, go along with them. They often offer a free lunch or dinner presentation. This can be the starting point for a more involved conversation. The staff there may also be able to be an ally to you. They may help you to determine how to convince your parents to move.
PARENTS WHO RESIST
Some parents will resist the idea of moving. They may have been in their home for a long time. They may be temperamentally independent. One of them may have assumed the role of caretaker for the other. These situations may require a more nuanced approach.
Consider offering a trial period in a retirement community or assisted living facility. Tell them you will not sell their home. If they decide after 60 or 90 days that they don’t need to be there, you will move them back home.
Some retirement communities have three different levels of care. They have independent living, which is an apartment or single-family home. They have assisted living which offers some level of support. And they have skilled nursing care in a separate building. It may be helpful to move your elderly parents to this type of facility. They may be able to live independently at first, then move to an area with more care.
Retirement communities often have an assessment as part of their application process. They may evaluate your parents for their ability to live independently. In some cases, the assessment may show that they require assisted living care. Sometimes parents will accept this news better from a third party. It may keep you from having to insist that they have more help.
Make sure that your siblings are on the same page with you. It’s important to present a united front to gain your parents’ cooperation. Work on a plan together for how to convince your parents to move.
PLANNING THE MOVE
Now the decision to move to assisted living has been made. Let your parents take the lead on planning the move if possible. Try to be understanding that this is a major life change for them. It may be a change they may not have thought they would have to make.
When moving elderly parents, help them to go through their possessions. Let them decide what to take with them to make their new living situation feel more like home. They may want to give away a lot of the things they cannot take with them. If they want to give you certain things, take them, whether you want them or not.
Your parents may feel better knowing that these things are still in the family. Once you have them you can keep them in storage or dispose of them as you see fit.
MAKING THE BEST OF THE DECISION
Once your parents are safely settled in their new home, be prepared for your own feelings. The busy-ness of the move may have masked feelings of sadness or guilt. You may feel you haven’t done enough for them. You may simply be sad that they are aging and unable to care for themselves.
These are natural feelings, but try to focus on the positives. Your parents are safer and may be happier now that they have fewer concerns. They will be able to get the care they need right where they live. When you visit them, be sure to check your guilt at the door.
Planning and information can help you determine what to do with aging parents. It can help you understand how to convince parents to move.
Do you have experience putting elderly parents in nursing homes or know someone who does? We encourage you to share stories and tips in our comments section below.