8 steps to take when your Parents need Assisted Living 12 Dec, 2020

Consider these eight steps to take when parents need Assisted Living.

Eight Steps:

  1. 1. Open the Communication Channels
  2. 2. Determine your Budget
  3. 3. Understand your Parent’s Needs and Issues
  4. 4. Know your Limitations
  5. 5. Research Well
  6. 6. Evaluate the Options
  7. 7. Take a Personal Tour
  8. 8. Prepare for a Safe Transition

Step 1. Open the Communication Channels

Your aging parents may consider themselves independent, so that you may face resistance to the suggestion of an assisted living community. You need to understand their needs and convey the situation in the best way possible.

  • Communication is of utmost importance to help aging parents understand
  • Assisted Living is not isolation
  • Assisted Living is a combination of being independent and having skilled medical workforces.
  • They have complete independence with the support
  • Assisted living offers a wonderful peace of mind
  • You can always meet each other anytime at the assisted living facility. (In-person visitation rules may apply and change over time as per Texas Health and Human Services directive during the covid-19 pandemic.)

When aging parents realize that assisted living is not like being in a nursing home, and their freedom would not be impaired, it brings a massive change in perspective. Personal conversations help ensure parents assisted living is the right step towards maintaining their health and social activities.

Assisted living is a wonderful choice you can make for aging parents who are not capable of living on their own and managing a healthy lifestyle without constant support. Early planning is necessary to begin finding assisted living for parents. 

So if you are thinking about getting parents into assisted living, start by opening the communication channels.

Step 2. Determine your Budget

Arriving at a reasonable monthly budget is often one of the key criteria in the decision-making process. The cost of assisted living varies for each community. Some assisted living communities have an all-inclusive rate, while others may have a base rate plus level of care charge.

Assisted living expenditures often fall under the bracket of “private pay.” Some long-term care insurance plans may include support for this category. However, an individual can opt for an assisted living waiver as long as the beneficiary meets the clinical eligibility for the said waiver.

One cannot solely depend on Social Security benefits to pay for assisted living. While it is an important source of income for senior members, the commercials of assisted living may go higher than the amount received through Social Security. 

Besides, assisted living costs vary per region in the United States. Social security benefits are based entirely on one’s lifetime earnings and the area of employment.

Veterans Administration (VA) also offers support for assisted living provided the eligibility criteria are met. Enrollment at the VA assisted living centers is as per availability and eligibility.

Depending upon your health insurance plan, Medicare may offer certain services not covered by assisted living. Some states have recently increased their support for assisted living through Medicaid programs. But, it may not cover the entire cost of the program. 

For example, a particular plan may cover only the personal care services available through assisted living. 

The variation in plan benefits needs a deeper understanding to know if your parents can apply for certain Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Therefore, It’s vital to connect with qualified professional advisors. 

So before you wonder how to get your parents into assisted living, start by determining your budget.

Step 3. Understand your Parent’s Needs and Issues

Determining your parent's needs allows for a better understanding of how moving into assisted living community supports them in having a higher quality of life:

  • How active they are. Do they like to be around people?
  • What is their current health situation? Are they experiencing chronic medical issues or undergoing long-term treatment?
  • Do they need specialized services for memory care (showing signs of dementia)
  • What type of accommodation do they prefer, private or shared?

Based on answers to the above questions and in conjunction, you can depend on the requirements and budget. So, it's ideal to understand your parent’s issues to determine when assisted living is necessary.

Step 4. Know your Own Limitations

When parents need assisted living, it’s often adult children that may also be in denial. However, you, as a primary caregiver for your aging parents, need to be aware of your limitations in terms of time and physical presence you can offer.

Adults who commute frequently will be unavailable for their aging parents’ needs. Most importantly, aging parents also need fun and recreation - both of which are difficult to handle daily.

It’s important for you to:

  1. Review your finances
  2. Know how much time and presence you can offer
  3. Understand the limitations and take adequate steps
  4. Find out if your parents are ready to make the move

There comes a time when Assisted living is a safer and better choice compared to keeping your aging parents at home and alone. So it's advisable to know your limitations before you think about how to get your parents into the assisted living facility.

Step 5. Research Well

Make a checklist of all your requirements based on the points mentioned above. Use these checklists to understand the offerings. A checklist helps you drill down to your requirements to pick the right facility. If your parents need specialized memory care, then ensure your service provider has the right set of professionals.

Assisted living communities that offer dementia care trained staff on the premises also have their residential areas catering to the needs of such residents.

For example, facilities include doors with alarms or outdoor spaces enclosed with walking pathways.

It’s important to research well before you can tell how you know when your parents need assisted living.

Step 6. Evaluate the Options

Now that you are aware of your finances and the requirements of your aging parents, you also need to decide on the type of stay. Assisted Living communities come in various formats. Depending on facility size and layout, a community can have anywhere between 5 to 100 residents.

Some Assisted Living is located in a neighborhood setting known as Residential Care Homes. This setting offers personal care in specific residential communities and can include different amenities. These are traditional homes modified to offer higher levels of safety or support in a smaller environment.

There are also service providers who offer in-home memory care for aging parents who display greater resistance to moving into a small or a large assisted living community.

Once you have decided how to tell a parent they need assisted living; it's important to evaluate and choose the best option.

Step 7. Take a Personal Tour

Now that your basic research is completed, it’s time to pay a visit to shortlisted communities. Schedule a trip to the community to understand their environment. If possible, plan the visit along with your parents. It’s recommended to understand the community culture, know the meal preparations being offered, and take a tour of the premises.

Ask about:

  1. Meal options
  2. Terms and conditions
  3. Staff experience and qualification
  4. Facilities offered
  5. Wellness activities
  6. Social outings
  7. Emergency numbers
  8. Number of residents
  9. When Visiting Communities, Here Are Few Items To Look For:
  10. Physical layout and cleanliness in common areas
  11. Number of daytime and night staff and their qualifications
  12. Meal plans and types
  13. Regular activities schedule
  14. New resident assessment process

Discuss with family members about available options. Narrow down your choice once you have a general feel of the place, and know what to expect once your parents start living there.

You can check on assisted living violations and citations with your state licensing records website. Most family members can also visit their loved ones anytime, but it is best to check with the service provider.

(In-person visitation rules may apply and may change over time per Texas Health and Human Services directive during the covid-19 pandemic.)

Check the facility and the services, and you will have an idea of how to know when a parent needs assisted living.

Step 8. Prepare for a Safe Transition

Now that you’ve finalized the community, it’s time to make a smooth transition. Once you’ve gone through the terms and conditions and proceeded with the payment, you can help set up rooms, get involved in activities, and help your parents settle in. It’s recommended to meet the care and administrative staff to build a bond with the caregivers who play an important role in the well-being of residents.

Display patience towards your aging parents as they settle in a new environment. If possible, show a genuine interest in the activities, and you can even participate in one of the activities to make parents feel at home. It’s important to stay connected with staff and parents during this phase.

Once the parents settle in, they will soon start to enjoy all the benefits of assisted living and like their new home. And if you are ever wondering how to get parents into assisted living, we at Senex memory advisors are here to help you out.

Please check out our recent article on 7 Key Differences Between Memory Care And Assisted Living.


Syed Rizvi


Syed has years of experience dealing with people, understanding their needs, and helping them find solutions to their problems.
As a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), Certified Montessori Dementia Care Professional (CMDCP), Syed is committed to working closely with Senior and their family knowing what is it like for individuals facing a challenging time, at times groping in dark trying to figure what is the appropriate next step or care level for their unique situation.
Syed and Senex Memory Advisors are fully committed to working closely with families in creating a personalized, step-by-step process memory care plan at zero cost.

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