How to convince your parent to move to assisted living

We all want to stay in our own homes for as long as we can and no doubt that’s how our elderly parents feel, however it’s not always in their best interest to do so.

For many elderly, living at home with some at home help and a personal alarm can be enough to allow them to stay in their own home for a few years with relatively little disruption. But a time may come when their spouse passes away or they require extra care, maybe their memory is fading, they have a few scary falls and the oven doesn’t get turned off.

Our loved ones maybe clinging to their familiar home, routines and way of life, when really assisted living might give them more freedom and a better quality of life.

So how do we get our elderly parents to consider moving to an assisted living center for their own health and wellbeing and to view the move as a positive change?

  1. First, plant the seed. Plant the idea casually and let them mull it over. 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 your parent is willing, but don’t push it. Drop the subject if necessary, and wait for another day.
  3. Watch for a “teachable moment.” Did Mum fall, but escape getting badly hurt? Use that as another seed or springboard to continue the conversation. You may choose to use it immediately or wait a while.
  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 Mum is complaining about how she never sees anyone anymore. Then, gently, try again.
  5. Softly introduce them to an assisted living center. Maybe you know someone living at one that you would visit, or the center does visitor day one a week.
  6. Respecting their values. Ask your parent what is important to them about living at home and what they value. Perhaps its privacy or not being seen as giving up? Show interest their thoughts and at a different time you can gently show how the things they value are taken care of, such as how their room is their own and they will have their own space.
  7. Stress the safety aspects. Care homes have much better facitlities than you can have at home making life safer and easier for residents.
  8. No home maintained to take care of. Stress the fact that there’s no lawns to mow, but flowers can be tended to. There’s no need to call a plumber if the sink breaks, but there are plenty of things to do if people want. There’s plenty of freedom to be alone, but company when they desire it.
  9. Make it exciting. Make the transition an exciting experience, check out their room before they move in. Take measurements and plan on whet furniture and personal treasures they’ll take with them. Treat it like they’re moving house which is what they are really dong.


Then wait. Let it all sink in. Be sensitive to your parent’s feelings.

It may come to the point where you have to have a family meeting with the parent and tell him or her how much better the family would feel if the move were made. However, by planting the seed prior to the family meeting that perhaps an assisted living facility could be a good idea and the benefits