How to talk to elderly parents about moving into assisted living

How to talk to elderly parents about moving into assisted living
Thomas Drew, 11/22/2016

Talking with your parent or loved one about needing home care can be a difficult conversation for both of you. For them, it represents a loss of independence and a realization of declining health. For you, it can be difficult because you must now tell your parent or loved one that you need help caring for them.

If you approach the conversation with a great deal of patience and tact, you will be able to have much more success. We asked our team of Senior Advisors, who have decades of experience helping families find the right in-home caregiver, to share their best tips. Here are 4 things that they want you to know.

1. Talk about the Advantages of Home Care, Not Limitations

Discussing bringing in hired help can often make your loved one feel defensive, especially if they have a worsening condition. While it’s important to be firm about your parent’s limitations, it is equally important to talk to them about the many benefits of home care. Tip: Try contrasting in-home care with assisted living. We have found that most seniors want to age at home rather than move to an assisted living facility and home care offers them that option. In addition, home care may be a better alternative because you only pay for the hours you need, rather than paying monthly if you were in an assisted living facility.

2. Tell Them How It Helps Other People

Your parent may not think they need home care and it may be challenging to convince them that it’s worth the money. Many seniors might resist because they think it could be a burden on you to organize and pay for the care. Flip their argument around by telling them how it helps you to have a Caregiver share the load. “Mom, I don’t feel comfortable leaving you alone and it’s hard for me to run some of the errands I need to do when I’m staying with you all the time.” “Dad, wouldn’t it be nice if you had someone to help you out so Mom wasn’t over-worked taking care of you?”. “Mom, I know you think you’re fine, but it would make me so much more comfortable if we had someone around the house with you.”

When you gear the conversation towards how it helps you or your family and not how it helps them, they’ll be more likely to accept home care as an option. Tip: Be careful not to make them feel too much like a burden by mentioning how you enjoy helping them, but you can’t personally be around all the time. You can mention how it is stressful to be the only one responsible for their needs.

3. Give Respite Home Care a Try

Sometimes one of the biggest hurdles in getting a senior to agree to outside help is the initial decision to try home care. It may be an easier transition if you explain and persuade to your parent to agree to a short-term trial. Tip: During the trial period, plan a vacation! With you out of town, they can try out a caregiver without it feeling like they’ve signed onto having permanent help. Once they put a friendly face to what a caregiver is, they usually let their guard down.

4. Bring in Professional Advice

If you’re facing an obstacle, bring in the professional help. You can discuss your concerns with your parent’s primary care physician (who has likely built up a level of trust with your parent). If they think that home care is warranted, they can be a great advocate who your parent is more likely to listen to. Also, consider reaching out to a Geriatric Care Manager who can do an assessment of your parent and provide a recommendation of the help they need.
Thomas Drew

Thomas Drew

Thomas Drew is the Marketing Manager at He graduated from Swarthmore College in 2013 and has worked in marketing since then.
Homecare Services

Home Care Services

Caregivers are Ready to Assist with:

Companion Care

Socializing, Light Housekeeping, Meal Prep...

Personal Care

Bathing and Dressing, Mobility Assistance...

Advanced Personal Care

Dementia/Alzheimer's, Incontinence...

24 Hour/Live-in Care

Ask about special live-in pricing