1. Don’t wait until a crisis forces you to make a decision about the next step of housing or care for your senior relative. Talk to others who have tried various living arrangements. Seek out answers and alternatives before a final decision is required.
2. Be sure all family have discussed and are in agreement with the need for a move, so a caring, united front is presented to the senior.
3. Accept the fact that an assisted-living decision will not be made quickly; it will likely take several family discussions over a period of time.
4. Seek advice from a doctor and/or minister, priest or rabbi. In addition to being valuable input to the family, a professional’s opinions and suggestions may be well-received by the senior.
5. In some cases, it is not possible for the older adult to make a decision themselves due to physical/mental limitations. Try to determine if the senior is capable of informed decision-making.
6. Consider the financial, social and emotional needs of the senior. Remember, nothing is perfect, so choose the “closest fit” from options.
7. Remember that there is no magical formula for presenting options to you senior family member. Each person is different and requires a different approach.
8. Allow the senior to voice feelings and concerns. Don’t try to minimize these feelings. Perhaps convey that you are also sharing these same feelings and concerns, but that the situation is such that a decision must be make in spite of these concerns.
9. Pre-screen and limit the choices of facilities considered for your senior. If the older adult is able to independently make a decision, offer two or three options to choose from.
10. In addition to pointing out how the resident’s life will be more worry-free, show that your worries will also be diminished. Convey that you are concerned about the person’s safety as well as the cost of upkeep in the current living environment. Stress the security and availability of transportation and social opportunities at the new facility.
11. Consider offering a trial change of lifestyle by renting an apartment for a few months prior to selling the home.
12. Identify needs that are very specific to the individual senior and point out how these facilities chosen can provide for those needs. Allow the senior to make as many choices possible in services and amenities to meet their needs.
13. Point out the positives of what your senior will be able to do in the new environment.
14. Take time to visualize and talk about where the furniture will fit in the new quarters; together, pick out pieces that mean the most.
15. Allow the senior to make as many choices as possible, such as choosing the assisted living complex room, selecting service plans, deciding on extras. Take over in the decision-making process only what you must. Keep your senior as active as possible in determining their fate and taking their own actions.
16. Share the burden of this difficult decision with others. Talk with relatives, friends, clergy and health-care professionals to gain further input and insight.