Plant the Seed
Here are my thoughts on convincing an elderly parent that its time to think about moving to assisted living:
1. First, plant the seed. Don't approach your parent as though you've already made the decision for him or her. Just mention that there are options that could make life easier and more fun.
2. Next, offer a tour of some local assisted living centers, if he or she is willing, but don't push it. Drop the subject if necessary, and wait for another day.
3. Watch for a "teachable moment." Did Mom fall, but escape getting badly hurt? Use that as a springboard. You may want to wait a bit, or immediately say something like, "Wow, that was close. Once you're feeling better, maybe we could go look at the new assisted living center over by the church. We'd both feel better if you had people around." Go with your gut on the timing, but use the "moment."
4. Again, don't push unless you consider this an emergency. It's hard to wait, but you may need to. Wait for, say, a very lonely day when Mom is complaining about how she never sees her friends anymore. Then, gently, try again.
5. Check with your friends and friends of your parents. See if any live happily in an assisted living center nearby, or if their parents do. Just like your first day of school when you looked for a friend – any friend – who may be in your class, your parent would feel much better if there were a friend already in the center.
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