When someone has been largely independent their entire life, it can be a huge step to give up that independence—even if it’s the right thing to do. There are independent living communities that allow an aging adult to retain as much independence as possible. Sometimes, an assisted living situation is a better and safer option, though.
The transition from living independently at home to any kind of assisted or independent living community can be the most challenging part for many seniors. As their loved ones, the best thing you can do is simply support them in the move.
Helping Seniors Accept the Help They Need
You can do several things to help a senior accept that they need help—even if they only need a small amount of assistance.
Explain the Benefits
Sometimes it’s as simple as explaining the various ways they will benefit from a senior’s community. For example, you could explain that they would be able to build friendships with other people their age or have someone available 24/7 if they need anything.
Include Them in the Decision
Instead of telling them where they are moving to, allow them to participate in the process. Ideally, after you explain the benefits, you’ll be able to frame the question of where to live so that they feel like they are making the decision.
Have Multiple Options
Letting them be a part of the process and accept the help is easier when you provide multiple options. For example, instead of showing them one community, maybe book tours at 2 or 3. This way, they can compare the difference for themselves and see the benefits of assisted living as a whole.
Remember that you also don’t want to overwhelm them with choices, so limit the choices to 2 or 3 of the best options available. And if they have any preferences, take that into account when booking tours.
Book a Tour
Ultimately, booking tours of some potential communities could be the best way. This gives your loved one a chance to see the benefits of a senior community living situation firsthand.
Reasons a Senior May Not Want Help
Just because someone is aging doesn’t mean they don’t have the same feelings, concerns, and fears as the rest of us. But sometimes, they aren’t able to communicate these things adequately for any number of reasons.
By knowing some possible objections a senior may have for not wanting to make the move, you’ll be better equipped to lovingly help them through those objections.
Just admitting that they need help in their daily lives may be a huge hurdle for many seniors. To put it into perspective, this person has likely lived independently for 50-plus years. Then to suddenly require help can be too much to think about—let alone admit.
Letting them know that it’s normal to have difficulty accepting help but gently suggesting that it’s not uncommon, and explaining the benefits is how you could potentially approach this objection.
Denial of an Issue
In some cases, an aging adult may literally believe that they do not need help. This can be really dangerous because that person may be more likely to attempt things beyond their abilities, possibly leading to injury.
Don’t make it about them when talking about getting help. Explain and show them that it’s common for folks their age to need assistance with certain things. This way, they don’t feel singled out.
Lack of Privacy
Whether you’re discussing independent or assisted living in a community, your loved one may fear that they will be giving up their privacy in addition to their independence. This can feel overwhelming for many people—especially if they’re used to living alone.
Gently explain to them that while there will be people helping with their day-to-day activities, they will still have their own space. This is where a tour of the community and potential living accommodations and meeting the staff could be highly beneficial.
What Not to Do
Even if it gets frustrating trying to explain why your loved one needs help, there are a few things to avoid:
- Don’t make them feel guilty: Many seniors already experience guilt—especially if they realize that they require extra help.
- Don’t get angry: If the conversation is getting frustrating, try having it at a different time.
- Don’t ignore their objections: It’s important that your loved one has a voice in the process. Instead of ignoring their objections, discuss them and try to come to an agreement.
Making the Decision
Sometimes the best way for an aging adult to realize the true benefits of assisted or independent living is to see it with their own eyes. Call our office today and book a tour. The compassionate staff of All American Assisted Living in Wareham are happy to show you and your loved one the beautiful community and answer any questions you or they have.