How Do I Get My Parents Into Assisted Living?

We all want what’s best for our loved ones, even if what’s best isn’t easy. For family members with an aging relative, that sometimes means moving their loved one into some sort of long-term care facility. There, the family can get peace of mind that their relative is having their personal and medical needs met.

Many older adults, however, do not want to move from their homes into some kind of retirement community. While this hesitance is understandable, it can also be dangerous if the senior cannot safely live alone.

With the 65+ population in the United States growing, many adult children are wondering how to get their parents into assisted living. If that sounds like your situation, keep reading to learn more about if it’s truly time for assisted living, what senior living arrangement would work best for them, and how to go about making the move itself.

3 Signs It’s Time for Senior Living

Wondering when it is time for assisted living? There’s no straightforward answer to that question. But by examining your elderly parents’ needs, their quality of life, and their decision-making abilities (or impairment thereof), you can make a more informed decision about their living arrangements.

1. They Need Help with ADLs

One of the best ways to determine whether or not it’s time for your elderly parents’ living arrangement to change is if they require help with ADLs, or activities of daily living. As the name suggests, ADLs are activities that someone needs to complete on a daily basis.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information lists six basic, or physical ADLs:

  • Ambulating: Walking independently from one spot to another
  • Dressing: Selecting appropriate clothing and putting them on
  • Feeding: Feeding oneself
  • Bathing: Maintaining personal hygiene (e.g. showering)
  • Toileting: Going to and from the toilet and cleaning oneself after use
  • Continence Controlling bladder and bowel function

2. They Need Help with IADLs

IADLs are instrumental activities of daily living. They are essentially ADLs that require complex thinking. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, there are 12 IADLs:

  • Care of others
  • Care of pets
  • Child rearing
  • Communication management
  • Driving and community mobility
  • Financial management
  • Health management and maintenance
  • Home establishment and management
  • Meal prep and cleanup
  • Religious and spiritual activities and expression
  • Safety and emergency maintenance
  • Shopping

3. They’re Lonely

One report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine states that more than a third of adults aged 45+ experience loneliness. Not only that, but roughly 25% of seniors (adults 65+) are socially isolated. Senior loneliness can be due to a number of factors, including:

  • Losing family members and friends
  • Declining physical health, including hearing loss
  • Declining mental health
  • Having Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia
  • Living alone
  • Experiencing chronic illness

That same report also states that social isolation drastically elevates the risk of premature death from any cause. In fact, it finds that the health risks from loneliness and social isolation can be just as dangerous (or nearly as dangerous as) the risks from smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity.

Clearly, senior loneliness and social isolation can’t be ignored. There are many ways to address elderly social isolation, including getting medical attention (as social isolation could be a sign of dementia) or seeking a communal living arrangement. Moving into a senior living community may give some older adults the social boost they need.

What Level of Care Do My Aging Parents Need?

There is no cookie-cutter approach to elder care; there are plenty of senior living options available in the United States, meaning there are plenty of arrangements that can best suit the needs of your aging loved ones.

Independent Living

As the name implies, independent living refers to a community of active seniors who can live independently as they need little to no assistance with ADLs. This option is great for seniors who want a social boost but otherwise don’t want to sacrifice their independence.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is another communal elder care solution. It offers residents some assistance with ADLs, but allows residents more independence than what residents of nursing homes typically have.

Memory Care

Memory care is for people who have severe memory issues that affect their ability to care for themselves. Memory care can refer to a dementia unit of a larger assisted living facility or it can be its own specialized center with its own campus.

Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing facility (SNF) is just another term for nursing home. For people who require 24/7 medical monitoring, SNFs are one of the best solutions.

How Do I Convince My Elderly Parents to Go Into Assisted Living?

You’ve determined your elderly parents’ needs and found a living arrangement that would work for them. Now comes the hard part: actually convincing them to make the change.

Unless you have a conservatorship (legal guardianship) over your parents, you cannot legally force them to move against their wills. Instead, you will have to convince them that the move is in their best interests.

Man in Blue Button Up Shirt Sitting on Brown Wicker Armchair
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Build Up to It Over Time

Sometimes what people need is time. Rather than dumping the idea of moving into assisted living into your loved ones’ laps at once, instead start suggesting the idea over time. This way, your relatives have the chance to slowly adjust to the idea, and the concept of moving won’t seem so drastic once you directly suggest in the future.

Remind Them That Family Members Will Still Visit

Many older adults are understandably nervous about making such a big change so late in life. One of the largest concerns your elderly parents may have is that no one will come visit them once they move into their new home. Remind them that this move won’t change how much their family loves them and that their loved ones will still regularly visit them. If in-person visits are not possible, your family can frequently video chat your aging parents.

Try In-home Care

Do your loved ones need the services offered by assisted living facilities but refuse to move from their home? If so, in-home care may be a temporary solution. In-home care basically means that a paid social worker or registered nurse will provide caregiving services to your loved ones in the comfort of their own home.

In-home care services vary by location and who you hire, but can include:

  • Medication management
  • Transportation services
  • Assistance with cooking and laundry
  • Financial assistance

Paid in-home care can be the primary source of caregiving or it can provide part-time assistance to unpaid family caregivers. Whether you decide to tackle caregiving on your own or hire full-time help is up to you; what’s most important is that you find an elder care solution that works for the whole family.

What If My Parents Have No Money?

It’s no secret that healthcare costs in the United States are high. This fact leaves many families worrying how they will pay for elder care services, especially if their aging relatives have no money.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to finance assisted living. One of the most reliable, however, is not Medicare, as many people would assume. Instead, long-term care insurance and Medicaid are typically your best bets for having long-term care costs covered.

Finding Senior Living Communities Near You

Your family’s well-being is a top priority; we know that. That’s why our directory shows you thousands of senior living options across the country—so that you and your loved ones can find a living arrangement that works for your family.