How to Talk to Parents About Assisted Living


Conversing with an older loved one about retirement living can be intimidating and emotional, but it’s meaningful. 

At Seasons Retirement Communities, we encourage you to have this discussion while your loved ones are in good health and time is on your side rather than after a crisis. Having this chat in advance allows you to educate yourself about your options and gives you the best chance of receiving your first accommodation choice. 

Many factors play into deciding how to talk to parents about assisted living, such as choosing the right time to bring up the subject and figuring out how to approach it in a sensitive way that considers their feelings and reactions.  

Below, we’ll review a few strategies that may help you discuss the transition to assisted living with your loved one, so keep reading for some valuable tips.



Noticing the signs of change

Although it would make the process easier, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to knowing when the time is right. Deciding how to talk to parents about assisted living can be complicated for both of you. 

However, the Signs of Change infographic has some helpful questions to consider and ask yourself the next time you see your parents in person. If you notice any of these or other changes in your loved one’s routine, they could require more significant support.

Such changes can include a lack of personal hygiene, increased falls and accidents, significant weight loss or weight gain, and uncharacteristic changes in attitude and personality, among other possible signs.

As stated by Maribeth, Leasing Manager at Seasons:

“These indicators highlight essential factors that should be paid attention to; they can mean that a loved one’s lifestyle is shrinking. Maybe they’re no longer interested in activities they once enjoyed, or [they’re] not eating regularly. 

These are usually silent but strong signals that now may be the right time to consider a move to a retirement community.” 

When deciding how to talk to your parents about assisted living, you may choose to bring up the issues you’ve been noticing, and those issues may indicate it’s time to consider extra help and care. 

While it may be difficult for your loved ones to hear, ensuring you bring up the subject with respect and consideration will go a long way to getting your concerns across, which we’ll discuss in further detail below. 


Conversation starters

Maribeth suggests starting the conversation with something small, such as asking your loved one about their feelings toward living at home on their own.

For instance, when home alone, do they feel safe or anxious? How are they managing home maintenance? Do they have enough groceries for the week?

You could notice subtle changes in their routine, like wanting to drive less or calling more frequently. These could be conversation starters, too. 

Signs like these could indicate that bigger ones are on their way, making this a good time and opportunity to sit down and have a genuine discussion.

Maribeth continues:

“It helps to be open and honest. Sometimes, aging adults don’t realize the extent of the changes around them until they’re highlighted and discussed with someone who cares about their well-being. 

Objections will arise, and many people will say they aren’t ready—but what does ‘ready’ really look like? Getting to the final decision can be a journey and a process.”


Increased independence

Several long-standing myths surrounding senior living options continue to influence people’s most common concerns and objections, but they aren’t true. 

For example, a common misconception is that residents lose all of their independence once they move to a retirement home. In contrast, many people move to a retirement community before needing the full complement of supportive services.  

Highly independent people decide to move for a variety of reasons. They may be tired of keeping up with household chores, want access to a social calendar, or simply desire peace of mind from knowing someone is always there if and when needed. 

Other people move to a retirement setting because they desire the care and support these communities can provide. 

Often, independence can increase after a move. When someone has support with nutritious meals, access to social programs, regular fitness classes, and a health and wellness team overseeing their well-being, they can lead happier and healthier lives.


Caregiver burnout

“Seasons team members know the weight of this decision and want to make the process as comfortable and pleasant as possible for new residents and their families,” finishes Maribeth. “We understand that something has to give eventually, either for the safety of the person receiving the care or for the caregiver’s well-being. 

Many people struggling to manage these tasks still work full-time jobs and have families of their own. There should be no shame or guilt in seeking and accepting help if needed, especially if you’re experiencing burnout.”

When everyone is on the same page about the future, it adds to the overall peace of mind and a sense of shared understanding. 

Overall, while looking into when and how to get parents into assisted living, consider how this change will positively impact their lives and yours by relieving you and other family members of caregiving tasks. 

If you have any further questions about discussing the transition into assisted living, don’t hesitate to contact a staff member at Seasons Retirement Communities.


Conclusion – How to talk to parents about assisted living

Talking to your loved one about transitioning into assisted living isn’t always easy, but it’s a critical discussion.

To learn how to get a parent into assisted living, we encourage you to speak with the Leasing Manager at your desired Seasons location

You can also complete our contact form to arrange a virtual or in-person visit to one of our retirement homes.

You can rest assured that all visits will be scheduled following safety measures. For the most up-to-date protocols, see our Company tab.

Discover Life at Seasons. Book a Personal Visit Today.