Talking to Parents About Assisted Living

There comes a time in many older adults’ lives when it becomes necessary to consider a senior living community. While there are many senior living options – including retirement communities and independent living – those are often chosen in early retirement.

What options are available for elderly parents who may need support or have a health crisis that occurs? Some consider skilled nursing, long-term care or home care, but for many, they find that an assisted living facility would best meet their loved one’s needs. So how do you bring this up successfully so you can talk with your parent about it? The team at Waterstone at Wellesley is here to help.

Preparing for the Conversation About Moving to Assisted Living

Assess Their Needs

Before looking into assisted living, consider what your loved one’s needs may be. Do they need support with activities of daily living, like eating, bathing and dressing? Are they fairly independent but still need some support? They could benefit from assisted living.

Do Your Research

Go online and look at local communities offering assisted living, and then make a list of your top options based on their:

  • Service Offerings
  • Programs and Lifestyle
  • Amenities
  • Ratings and Reviews

Plan a Meeting

During the initial planning meeting, you should involve all close family members. You’ll want to share your loved one’s care needs, show them your top picks for assisted living, and get their initial input and consideration, especially if they are involved with your parent’s care plan.

Once you’re on the same page about your parent’s senior care needs, choose who will take care of the primary meeting with your parent and where it will be held. That meeting should consist of those your loved one will be most receptive to, and involvement should be limited to prevent your parent from feeling overwhelmed or ambushed. Choose a place you are both comfortable, like where your parent lives currently. Schedule a date and time, and thoughtfully prepare for the discussion.

Having the Discussion About Assisted Living

Share Why You Are Concerned

If you feel it’s time for your loved one to move to an assisted living community, share your concerns with them. If you’re worried about their healthcare or safety, if you’d like peace of mind of knowing they are being cared for by experts, or if you simply want to make sure they’re enjoying the lifestyle they should be, tell them so.

Ask About Their Preferences

Once you’ve shared your concerns, it’s time for them to share theirs with you. Ask them:

  • What their preferences for the future are
  • If they have a plan in mind
  • Why they haven’t considered a move yet
  • If they’ve been overwhelmed by the thought of making a move

Highlight the Advantages

Your parent may not know what assisted living has to offer, so share the information you’ve found with them. If they have certain fears, hobbies or preferences, show them how assisted living can meet their needs. They may find there are more advantages than they previously thought.

Be Understanding and Reassuring

If your loved one is having a hard time with this discussion, try to understand where they are coming from, why they may want to stay at home, and why they are afraid or hesitant to move. Try to see things from their point of view while reassuring them that this is a great option for them to consider.

Don’t Overwhelm Them With Information

Too much information at once can make this concept a bit overwhelming for a loved one. Instead, give only the most relevant facts, ask their preferences, and answer their questions. Over time, if there’s more they need to know, you can do research together or share what they need to know as it comes up.

After the Discussion

Involve Your Loved One

For some families, more than one conversation about assisted living is needed. Each time it’s brought up, be patient, and consider how your loved one may be feeling. If they are receptive to a move, be sure to involve your loved one in the process, asking what their most important considerations are and what they’d like to experience each day.

Ask Family and Friends for Referrals

If your family and friends have experience with assisted living, ask about their thoughts. Are there communities they would consider referring you to? What have they found was the most important thing to ask when searching for assisted living? This can be very helpful information.

Schedule Some Tours

Choose communities to tour with your loved one. Seeing a community firsthand may make it easier for them to make the decision to move.

Ready to start the conversation?

For more information on talking to your parents about their senior living options, or to attend an upcoming event or open house tour, contact us today.


Waterstone at Wellesley offers independent living and assisted living options in Wellesley along the bank of the Charles River. Schedule a visit today to experience our lifestyle and learn how we help seniors thrive.