Maintaining independence as we age is everyone’s goal in life, yet statistics indicate that well over 90% of older adults need help with at least one activity of daily living. Often these seniors are very hesitant to leave the comfort of home and risk losing their independence.
And in some extreme cases, the senior adult has made it very clear that they are adamantly against leaving the home they’ve occupied for many years to move to “senior living,” pitting the adult child against them if they threaten to make the decision on their behalf. Even worse, if the senior has dementia or is memory impaired, the situation could quickly become unsafe.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to reevaluate your approach and even enlist the help of outside professionals.
Don’t force the issue in the beginning; back off and reevaluate your strategy. Being overly aggressive with your approach can make your loved one feel like they’ve lost their independence. Listen to your loved one’s concerns and hesitations and validate their feelings. Invite them into the research process with you and alleviate the stress of feeling like the decision is one-sided. If they become belligerent in their response, back off and don’t bring the topic up again for a while. It’s likely that your loved one has a false sense of what ‘senior living’ actually is. The industry has changed tremendously over the past several years, with many options available with amenities and benefits that are just like “home.”
Involve trusted medical professionals in the decision-making process. Even though you have done your research when it comes to choosing a senior living community, your family member may still be hesitant to make a decision based on your information alone. Medical professionals can be your ally when it comes to influencing a loved one to move to senior living, especially if there is a medical condition or diagnosis involved. Talking with the medical practitioner ahead of a scheduled appointment allows the topic to come up naturally– and could make all the difference when it comes to encouraging your loved one to make the move to senior living.
If all else fails, and the situation has become unsafe, seek legal assistance. Hopefully your situation doesn’t come down to this, but if your loved one is in an unsafe environment at risk of harming themselves or someone else–it may be time to hire an elder law attorney. These professionals can even refer specially-trained geriatric social workers who may be able to intervene on your behalf. Your loved one may be hurt or downright angry in this situation, but the benefits would outweigh the negatives of a crisis involving themselves or others.
Convincing a loved one to make the move to senior living when they are against the idea is never an easy feat. Even worse, allowing the senior to make the decision in cases where there is dementia or they are incapacitated and unfit to make these type of decisions can put your loved one in a bad situation.
The important thing to remember is that, however you decide to proceed, you are never alone in the situation. Involve trusted professionals in your ‘inner circle’ of support to help you approach your situation with dignity, compassion, and an open mind. Reassuring your loved one that you have their safety and best interest in mind could help ease their mind and break down barriers. And above all, never let anger guide any decisions that are made. You can become a trusted advisor with the right approach and support from others.