Having that initial conversation with your loved one about an assisted lifestyle community can feel overwhelming. The last thing you want is for them to feel forced into a situation they don’t want. But you also don’t want to wait to have the talk until it’s too late. It’s a delicate balance to strike. Here are 7 tips for talking openly and productively about transitioning to an assisted living community for adults 22-64 with physical disabilities.
1. Start when everyone is in healthy spirits.
The best strategy is to start the conversation while your loved one is in good health, not when a crisis arises. That way, you have time to build the conversation slowly over time without panic or pressure.
2. Ask yourself what you want first.
Before speaking to your loved one, think about what the ideal situation would be for you? What do you want for them? What are your fears and concerns?
3. Consult beforehand.
Even if everyone in their immediate circle, such as friends, family, or doctors, can’t be physically present, get everyone’s input and support so that you are on the same page during the process.
4. Keep it casual.
Choose a moment when everyone is rested and well. Consider picking a neutral site to start the conversation—perhaps a quiet restaurant or café. It may be helpful to include a loved one or close friend who makes your family member feel particularly safe and relaxed.
5. Be patient and start slow.
Don’t assume a “we need to talk” attitude or overwhelm your family member by trying to discuss too much at once. Look at this process as a series of conversations rather than “The Conversation.” You don’t need all the answers today. Try addressing one issue at a time.
6. Be a friend.
Be prepared to listen and show respect for your family members’ feelings. Tell them you care about how they feel and what they want the rest of their life to be like. Reassure them that you’re in this together, with mutual interests and common goals. Together, you’re asking questions, evaluating options and deciding on a plan that everyone is happy with.