What To Say To Someone Moving Into Assisted Living (Easing the Transition)

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

It is not an easy decision to consider moving your aging parents to an assisted living facility. But with proper research and clear communication, it might be the right move for you and your loved ones. And here, we share with you some helpful tips on easing the transition to assisted living: what to say to someone moving into assisted living.

What To Say To Someone Moving Into Assisted Living
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Time waits for nobody. This quote can help clarify your life, especially if you care for an aging parent or loved one.

As days go by, you may start noticing that your aging parent or family member needs more and more help to go about their day-to-day life. This is inevitable, as aging is associated with various physical and psychological challenges that must be addressed accordingly as time passes.

If you are your parent’s main caregiver or part of their major decision-making process, you should not feel guilty about the possibility of moving them into an assisted living facility.

We know it’s not easy even to start thinking of moving your aging parent or loved one to an assisted living facility. However, it’s important not to think about it as a selfish decision but as one that’s in your loved one’s best interest in the long run.

Indeed, there are many benefits to assisted living. But, before making a decision on whether to move your loved one into an assisted living community, it’s important that you take certain steps to ensure that assisted living is right for you and your family.

Some research about assisted living and planning will definitely help you when it’s time to discuss assisted living with your aging loved one. Moreover, it will offer much-needed peace of mind for you and them as you go through this delicate transition to assisted living.

what to say to someone moving into assisted living conversation
A two-way discussion about your parents’ future care is very important.

How to Start the Conversation About Assisted Living

Do some research on assisted living options and facilities

It’s very important that you are well-prepared for this conversation when the time arises. Knowing how to introduce this topic can be difficult for many reasons.

Try your best to get your emotions out of the way when thinking about your parents’ future issues because it will only make things harder and more stressful. Focus on their needs in terms of short-term care and future long-term care.

Some questions that can help have an honest and easy conversation include:

  • Can they move around and walk independently?
  • Do they have trouble remembering things?
  • Do they need medical care or use prescription medication regularly?
  • Do they need transportation to the grocery store or to doctor’s appointments?
  • Do they need help with everyday tasks like cleaning, bathing, or getting dressed?
  • Can they afford to live in an assisted living facility?

These are simple but really important questions to consider when deciding whether to move your loved one into an assisted living facility.

This information will help you when it’s time to discuss your parents’ future. It will also help to make it clear to them why they need to consider assisted living options for their future. 

Communication is key when discussing such serious topics. So, before discussing assisted living with your parents, look into the things you need to know and take some time to figure everything out.

Keep the discussion about senior living options ongoing

Talking to your aging loved ones about their future needs and options is paramount. Such discussions are too significant, and life-changing to only have once.

Bringing up your parents’ future care honestly will mean a lot to them, but it has to be a two-way discussion. Make a point to listen to their concerns, feelings, opinions, and, most importantly, fears about assisted living options.

They are, after all, grown-up adults who have been able to take care of themselves and live independently in the past.

Regardless of their age, these conversations are beneficial, even if they may be years away from needing assisted care.

Keep your aging parents involved in the decision-making process

If your parents are still able to live life independently and have the mental capacity to make their own decision, then you should respect that. Your elderly parents are adults who should be involved in deciding where they would like to live.

Often with age comes more pride, and aging parents may sometimes have concerns about certain people taking care of them. The discussion can go smoothly with a loved one as long as you listen to them and keep their wishes and welfare in mind, and not your own.

Notwithstanding, there are some cases when orders from a doctor or physician may need to be considered. In such cases, involving your parents in the decision-making process may not be absolutely necessary, considering their medical condition.

what to say to someone moving into assisted living options
You may want to show them what to look forward to in the assisted living communities to choose from.

Tips for Talking About Assisted Living Options with Your Loved One

Here are a few tips for staying positive when talking about assisted living options with your parent:

  • Highlight all the amenities of an assisted living community when talking to your parents about assisted living
  • Listen to their concerns and consider every opinion that your parent shares with you during the conversation
  • Show respect to your parent within the conversation and don’t ever talk down to them, no matter their age or mental state
  • Keep the discussion two-way, and make sure to give your parent or loved one ample time to share their grievances
  • Use non-threatening language such as “condo-style” living rather than “rooms” or “community” as opposed to “facility”
  • A positive tone that is quiet and calm can make a huge difference in this kind of conversation

Inspirational Quotes to Ease the Transition to Assisted Living

Here are some inspirational quotes for seniors to help ease the transition to assisted living:

  • “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain
  • “A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth.” – Lydia M Child
  • “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
  • “Live your life and forget your age.” – The Fresh Quotes
  • “Anyone who stops learning is old. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford

Thoughtful Things to Write in a Greeting Card

Here are some thoughtful and heart-warming things to write in a greeting card to your loved one:

  • You make the world a better place!
  • You are amazing… Don’t forget it!
  • Don’t forget to smile today!
  • There’s always someone thinking of you. Have a fantastic day!
  • I hope you feel cared about and appreciated today because you are!

RELATED: How Do You Move A Parent With Dementia To Assisted Living?

Some Non-Verbal Ways to Support the Move to Assisted Living

Apart from having an extensive and continuous discussion about moving into an assisted living community, there are some non-verbal ways you can support your parents’ move to this new world or environment:

1. Visit often

One of the easiest ways to support your elderly parent’s transition to assisted living is to visit them often. Frequent visits will help ease any stress or loneliness your parent may have.

2. Surround your parent with their personal belongings

You may be tempted to get entirely new things for your parent in hopes they will love their fancy new place. However, it’s best to stick with what they were used to because moving into an assisted living facility is already a major adjustment.

3. Be your parent’s advocate

Do not be afraid to speak up for your mom or dad when they move to a new place. Talk to the staff and management at the assisted living facility to find out what they can do to make your parent’s stay as comfortable and convenient as possible.

Following all the above tips should help ease the transition to assisted living for your parent or loved one.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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