Tips for talking with your aging parents about making the move to an assisted living community.

Talking with your loved ones about making the move to an assisted living community can be emotional. How you bring up the topic can have a big impact on whether they see the transition as a positive next step.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for and start the conversation.

Be Sensitive to Emotions

Give your parents time to express themselves, and actively listen to their thoughts and fears. Understand that your loved one might have questions about many aspects of the process. Being aware of potential concerns can prepare you to address them when they surface.

Ask Questions About Your Parents’ Lifestyle

To ensure the conversation is collaborative, start by asking questions that draw from your observations about your loved one’s physical, emotional and mental condition. For example, if your parent takes multiple medications every day, you may ask how she would feel if someone could assist with the task. If she lives in an isolated area, you could ask if she would like to have easy access to people with similar interests and hobbies. Then you could discuss how assisted living communities can offer those amenities.

Have Regular Talks About Moving to Senior Living

Anticipate having more than one conversation about the move. Multiple short conversations can prevent your parent from getting overwhelmed and provide all of you with more opportunities to think about and articulate concerns and wishes.

Do Your Research on Senior Living Communities

A number of factors, such as health care levels and community culture, will influence what kind of community your loved one chooses. Helping her understand her options will help make the choice seem more manageable.

If your mom is an avid gardener, for example, you can look for communities that offer her the chance to work outdoors. This shows your loved one that her happiness is important to you, and offers you the chance to talk about the amenities and activities that are available—things your loved one might never have imagined.

Planning for the conversation and going in with information can help you support your loved ones and empower them to make a choice that meets their needs and brings you peace of mind.