How Do I Deal With My Parents in Assisted Living?
If your parent or parents are residing in an assisted living community, you likely have many questions about how to deal with them in a positive and productive manner. There are some points to bear in mind when it comes to dealing with a parent or parents who are residing in assisted living.
The reality is that when a parent lives in assisted living, there can be rocky moments. It is these periods that can prove the most challenging when it comes to dealing with your parents in assisted living.
Recognize Your Parent’s Autonomy
Issues may arise in regard to your parent’s life in assisted living. When this occurs, you need to recognize your parent’s autonomy. Unless your parent has developed debilitating dementia or some other medical condition that impacts the decision-making process, your parent remains the primary decision maker in his or her life.
Remember: You Are Still the Child
On a related note, in addition to recognizing your parent’s autonomy, you also need to always bear in mind that you are still your mother or father’s child. The nature of this relationship dictates that you do respect your parent, even in situations in which they seem to be challenging in regard to their life in an assisted living community.
Understand the Importance of Honesty and Transparency
When it comes to matters pertaining to your parent, including if an issue arises involving assisted living, both you and your parent are well served when communications are honest and transparent. Having said that, there might be things going on in your parent’s life that leaves them being less honest and less transparent than is desirable. Having noted that potential reality, that conduct by your mother or father doesn’t grant you the right to be dishonest and opaque in your communications with them.
Manage Your Emotions
It can be challenging to keep emotions in check at times when dealing with a parent in assisting living. Issues can arise in an assisted living situation that spike an adult child’s emotional state. If you need to do so, take a proverbial time out if you feel your emotions rising. Connect with your parents when you are calm and collected whenever possible.
Take Your Parent’s Concerns Seriously
A common occurrence when a parent lives in an assisted living community is the expression of concerns that may not seem significant to you but which really are to your mother or father. For this reason, it is important for you to take your parent’s concerns as seriously as possible. That does not mean that you should enflame unrealistic concerns on the part of your parent. Nonetheless, absent an expressed concern being completely off the rails, you should take what your parent shares with you as seriously as possible.
Do Not Give Ultimatums
Tying in with what was discussed earlier about recognizing your parent’s autonomy and remembering you are the child, do not give you parent ultimatums. Even if you feel your parent is acting poorly, you need to offer solutions but not demand a specific course of action from them. Of course, there are some exceptions to this admonition. However, generally speaking and in most instances, it is unproductive and unfair to give your parent ultimatums.
Communicate With Them Regularly
An important aspect of dealing and living with parents who reside in assisted living is communicating with them regularity. Frankly, this can be accomplished even with brief phone conversations throughout the course of the week.
Visit Your Parents Regularly
On a related note, when you have a parent residing in assisted living, both you and your parent are well served if you visit regularly. You can accomplish this rather easily if you live in the same community. If you do not live in the same locale, you can still plan regular trips to visit your mother or father in assisted living.
Take Your Parents on Outings
If you live in the same community as your parents, consider taking your parents on regular outings outside of assisted living. Merely because your parents live in an assisted living community does not mean that they should disconnect from the rest of the world. Assisted living should be part of your parent’s life and not all of it.
There are a few other points to keep in mind when dealing with a parent in assisted living:
- Strive for normality. A parent’s life need not be completely turned on its head because of a move to assisted living.
- Be kind. Among the strategies outlined in this article, a fair assessment can be made that being kind underpins many of them on some level.
- Be patient. As is the case with kindness, patience is also vital when dealing with a parent in an assisted living community.