Subscribe to our blog.
senior talking with a nurse and loved one about moving into assisted living

Share Via Email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How Do You Tell a Parent It’s Time for Assisted Living?

If you’re reading this article, you may be worried about an older parent’s ability to live on their own — safely or with the happiness they deserve. This situation is more common than most people realize.

According to, a leading advocate for older adults, 7 out of 10 adults over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care during their lifetime. It’s worth noting that people turning 65 today are living longer than their parent’s generation, making the need for care more likely as life expectancy increases.

What can you expect at an assisted living community?

Before you talk to your parent about assisted living, it’s important to gather information. Most of what you find will be reassuring. Let’s take a look.

An assisted living community’s primary function is to preserve each resident’s independence, not take it away. 

To do this, you and your parent can expect the assisted living community to provide help with activities of daily living (often called ADLs), which typically include:

  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Dining
  • Medication management
  • Toileting

The best communities will set up a customized plan and provide the right amount of help your parent needs. Then, with ADLs managed, your parent will more easily participate in activities they enjoy.

Living arrangements vary by community, but your parent will likely live in a private residence. With personal decorations and furniture, it will quickly feel like home.

Once you understand the services provided at an assisted living community, broach the subject gently. Remember, this is someone you love, and making a move late in life may be daunting for them. 

senior lady in assisted living while talking with a healthcare worker

5 tips for talking to parents about assisted living:

  1. Ask questions to help your parent evaluate and articulate his or her current situation. 
    • Is there anything about getting older that worries you?
    • Are there activities you enjoy but can’t do anymore?
    • Do you get outside as often as you’d like?
    • Are you often lonely? Do you see friends?
    • Are you eating well? What did you have for breakfast this morning? Dinner last night?
    • Are you able to keep up with the housework? Because cleaning, dishes, laundry — it is work and it never ends.
  2. You’ve done your research. Talk about what you’ve learned about assisted living communities.
    • Moving to a community promotes independence and happiness. 
    • Many communities are beautiful, some are even comparable to a vacation resort. 
    • Daily hassles are managed by others. 
    • You’ll be treated with respect and kindness by staff.
    • You’ll make new friends. 
    • You’ll eat well and have plenty to do.
  3.  Dispel outdated myths.
    • Reassure your parent that today’s assisted living communities are warm, often luxurious, places with activities and services to make every day more delightful. Many people, especially older adults, misperceive “those places” as cold, institutional facilities. Nothing could be further from the truth. An assisted living community is not a nursing home, though often skilled nursing is available if a resident needs a higher level of care.
  4. Talk about location. 
    • Most people move to a community within 5 miles of their home. Those who move longer distances typically do so intentionally, to be closer to family members. In short, your parent will probably continue to live near their friends, favorite restaurants, and all the familiar places that help them feel at home.
    • Offer to drive your parent to a few nearby communities. Do a drive-through to get a first peek, or better yet, make an appointment and take a tour. No pressure, just looking.
  5. Be patient.
    • The decision to move to an assisted living community probably isn’t going to be made with one conversation. Your loved one will need time to absorb what’s been said. There will be immediate questions and follow-up questions. Be patient and supportive.

senior couple in assisted living smiling and laughing outside

Despite your best intentions, you may be met with initial resistance when talking to your parent about assisted living. Maybe you need help. Enlist a trusted friend, relative, minister or doctor. As long as you have your parent’s well-being in mind and genuinely listen to their concerns, the conversation should progress to a plan you can both feel good about.

If you’d like more information about the benefits of assisted living, contact The Ridge Senior Living. Our communities focus entirely on residents’ needs, preferences and happiness, with resort-like comfort and hospitality. We’d love to talk about how we can serve your family.