Families and caregivers of their elderly parents often turn to assisted living as a good option for their parents as they age and need assistance with daily care. Assisted living is great for those capable of some independent living but could use some help to get around and prepare meals and other day-to-day tasks. When that time comes, you want to make sure you take the right steps to find the best place for them to live and to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone involved. Here are some great tips for moving your parents into an assisted living community.
1. Have the Tough Conversations
The entire process of moving your folks into an assisted living community starts with the initial conversation about moving them. One of the hardest parts is actually talking with your parents and convincing them to make the move. Oftentimes, people may be quite reluctant to give up their home and their belongings, but for their well-being, assisted living is going to be the best thing for them. Each family is unique and has different ways of communicating, however here are a few tips that could get the best results:
- Approach any conversation from a place of compassion, love, and genuine concern.
- Include your parents in the process – not many people like the idea of having their kids take over their lives. Make sure your aging loved one has a say in the decision-making process.
- Have the conversation early and often. It is easier to talk about future life plans before there is a crisis. Having multiple conversations ahead of time can help to make talking about it less overwhelming and confrontational.
Unfortunately, it’s often up to adult children to handle these tough conversations. Still, there are plenty of resources online, and you can always consult with an assisted living organization like Sunflower Communities to learn how to approach this situation. But that’s where it starts—talking about it. If you are going to your parents’ advocate in this process, it’s vital to sit down and get to know all of their preferences, needs, desires, and deal-breakers so you can have a solid understanding of what kind of place would work best for them. Plus, these are the opportunities to be able to vent and discuss feelings and trepidations about moving. You can do it as a family, which can help make the entire process so much better.
2. Solidify Their Budget
One of those tough conversations might be about money. But figuring out your parents’ budget is critical to ensuring they can move into a place worry-free. Working with a financial advisor can be super helpful because you’ll need to include a lot of complicated factors with social security, insurance, medical care costs, etc. The last thing you want to do is to move your parents into a place that is too expensive and having to downsize and move them again down the road.
3. Prepare for the Transition
Long before you find the place they’re going to move to, it’s a good idea to get started on consolidating, packing, and getting the appropriate furniture they’ll need for the new place. If your parents are moving from a house or larger apartment into assisted living, chances are you’ll have to do a lot of downsizing. So the earlier you start, the better.
You can determine if the furniture they have currently is practical to bring with them, or if they should sell it and buy new stuff. Also, make sure to find a storage unit to keep any or all nostalgic items and family heirlooms. Bringing those with when they move may be impractical, and you can instead store them neatly in a storage unit nearby.
It’s also imperative to find and collect all important documentation like wills, tax documents, bank statements, etc. Keep those safe and secure, so they don’t get lost in the move. You’ll likely need them when you apply for assisted living as well, so keeping them handy will be super helpful.
4. Start the Research Process
Finding the right assisted living community can take time, and the sooner you start to research, the better. You can also eliminate all the places you don’t want to see early on and leave yourselves with a good list of options when the time comes to start touring facilities. You can include your parents in this process, or take what they’ve told you and run with that.
Heading to the internet and searching nearby assisted living facilities is the first step. READ THE REVIEWS. Reviews can help immediately determine which places are worth visiting. Keep notes of everything you find, and make a list of places you want to contact, and then have your assisted living checklist ready for when they contact you back.
5. Connect with an Advisor or Placement Agency
You may also find it valuable to connect with an Assisted Living Advisor or Placement Agency. They can help ease some of the burdens of finding a place yourself. They can take all of the information you have regarding your parents’ wants and needs and do the searches for you. Advisors can also be a beacon of support as you navigate the struggles that come with moving your parents into assisted living—both with the logistics and the emotional toll it can take.
6. Take Tours of the Best Assisted Living Spots
Once you’ve narrowed down your top spots, it’s time to take a tour! If finding a time is a struggle, many assisted living places will offer virtual tours instead of in-person. This may not be ideal for some, but you can get the gist of what they have to offer and what the inside looks like. The tour can not only give you a visual idea of what they have to offer, but it’s your opportunity to ask all of the questions you need to ask directly with the facility.