How to Speak to Your Family About Long-Term Senior Care for Your Loved One

By |2022-03-28T20:30:31+00:00March 28th, 2022|Aging, Caregivers, Nursing Homes, Seniors|

One of the Hardest Conversations You’ll Ever Have

Loss of independence is one of the toughest things that your loved ones will face as they age. It’s tough to have “the talk” with your parents about when they should make the move to a long-term senior care facility. It can be even harder to have that talk with the rest of the family.

Caring for elderly parents sometimes means making tough decisions. It’s never easy to make the choice to move them to an assisted living facility of any type. However, to keep them healthy and safe, it may be the best choice.

If you’ve stumbled across this article, you’re likely wondering, “How do I talk to my family about moving my parents into a nursing home?” Read on, and we’ll help you find ways to make that conversation a little easier.

Set a Time to Have the Conversation in Person with Everyone Involved

Before we go any further, it must be noted that having a conversation with family members about moving your parents in a long-term care facility should always happen in person. Phone calls, by nature, are cold and impersonal, especially when they relate to heavy topics. Just calling your siblings about any plan to move your parents to assisted living can raise suspicion of unsavory motives.

To have this conversation, it’s important that you, your siblings, and any spouses involved are all together in the same place. This means that you’ll have to coordinate with your siblings to find a time and place for the discussion to happen. If you have siblings who live out of state, you should begin making arrangements to meet in advance so that they have time to make travel plans.

Why should speaking with your siblings about long-term senior care for your parents be such a coordinated effort with everyone involved? Doing anything less, such as speaking with one sibling out of the blue about the plan and having it spread through the family can seem like a serious blindside. Your intentions may be good, but your siblings may feel as if you’re simply trying to drop your share of the responsibility for taking care of your parents. This can lead to serious inter-family conflict.

Back Up Your Claims with Proof

Simply stating that your parents would be better taken care of in a long-term senior care facility, such as a nursing home, senior home, assisted living facility, or senior living community, is not, and should not, be taken as a convincing reason. If your parents are still capable of living independently, the decision to move to an assisted living or senior living community should be theirs and theirs alone.

However, if you are a primary caregiver for your parents, or you and another sibling share the responsibility, then it’s important to be able to prove your claims. Even with proof, convincing other family members that your parents require specialized long-term senior care, and that they can only receive this in a long-term facility such as a nursing home or assisted living facility, won’t be easy. 

No one wants to think that their parents can no longer take care of themselves. Likewise, while your siblings may recognize the pitfalls of aging, they may not want to believe that the situation with your parents is as severe as it really is. For these reasons, you can expect some arguments to arise when you begin discussing your case regarding your parents’ need for care.

There are many types of proof that you can use to lay out your case. Some tangible forms of proof that you may have include:

  • Hospital records
  • Medical care reports
  • Stories from neighbors and friends of your parents
  • Stories from other family members

Sometimes, the best proof you can have is to let your siblings see for themselves. If you are all meeting in the same state where your parents live, bring your siblings to visit them. Seeing is believing, and if your siblings can see why your parents need extensive long-term senior care, it may be easier for them to understand your reasoning.

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Let Your Siblings Be Involved in the Process

When it comes to finding long-term senior care for your parents, keeping siblings and other family members in the dark on your thought process will only lead to major issues. If you want your siblings to see the bigger picture, you’ll have to let them see it in their own way. This means you’ll have to let them be involved in the process.

So, if you’re asking, “how do I talk to my siblings about moving my parents into a nursing home” you’ll want to know that there are four primary ways to get your siblings involved in determining whether or not your parents need specialized long-term senior care. Those four ways include:

  • Inquire – Create an open discussion by asking for your siblings’ views on your parents’ situation. Do your siblings think that mom’s forgetfulness is a sign of greater cognitive issues? Are your siblings worried about dad being at home on his own because he’s a fall risk? Asking these questions can give you better insight as to whether or not your siblings are worried about the same issues.
  • Assess – Consider your siblings’ responses. Are you seeing the situation in the same light, or do some family members think you’re overinflating your concerns? If they share different points of view, do not look at this as an issue. You can still move forward in your conversation without being perfectly aligned on all points.
  • Accept – If you and certain siblings have never seen eye to eye, discussing how to care for your parents will not magically change that. Accept the differing points of view of your siblings and move on. It’s easier to know how you’ll proceed with the information that you have.
  • Assign – For those siblings who are willing to help, assign them certain tasks to take on. Base assignments on the strengths and weaknesses of your siblings for best results. For instance, a sibling who has problems with money probably isn’t the best to help handle your parents’ finances.

You should never assume that the weight of handling this decision is yours and yours alone. Even if some of your siblings refuse to be involved, you should always ask for help and guidance when looking at such a massive life choice.

Always Be Prepared for Resistance

There are several tell-tale signs that your parent, or parents, could benefit from moving into one of the following types of long-term senior care facilities:

  • Nursing Home
  • Senior Home
  • Assisted Living Facility
  • Senior Living Community

Though these signs are easily apparent, your siblings and your parents may not always see them for what they are. As we mentioned earlier, no one wants to accept that their parents are no longer capable of caring for themselves or living independently. Therefore, disagreeing siblings and parents may look to put roadblocks in the path of what is actually best for your parents.

The best thing you can do in a situation where your family disagrees with you regarding what’s best for your parents is to listen. Allow them to voice their opinions without judgment or anger. You may find some common ground with them, which can lead to further conversation where you all eventually agree on what type of long-term senior care your parents will need going forward. If you and other family members cannot reach an agreement and the situation shows signs of souring, then outside assistance from an eldercare mediator may be necessary.

No matter what, always remember that you have the best interests of your loved ones in mind; despite how it may look in the moment, your family members all essentially want the same. When you can find that common ground, then you can all work together to find a way – and a place – where your parents will be cared for, loved, and enabled to live their best lives.

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