Dear Donna:

My mom has been living alone since my father passed away almost 5 years ago. She’s recently experienced a few falls and fractured her arm. After her last fall, Mom’s primary care doctor suggested we visit some assisted living communities. He told us we were lucky her injuries weren’t worse as falls are a leading cause of disability in seniors. He suggested we think seriously about making the transition before winter.

My mom seemed to agree with the doctor’s recommendation, but once we got back to my house she admitted it was only for his benefit. Since then, she’s said she’s not ready to move to assisted living.

Mom is staying with my family and me until her arm heals. I really think she needs to move to assisted living after that. Her house is old and not built with a senior citizen’s needs in mind.

What can I do to get my mom to visit a few assisted living communities? I don’t know how to get her past the idea that she’s not ready for this change.


Daphne in Saginaw, MI

When a Senior Says They Aren’t Ready to Move Yet

Dear Daphne:

We’ve heard the phrase not ready yet many times! It can mean different things to different people. While only your mom can translate exactly what she means by it, there are some common concerns older adults have about this transition.

  • “I’m afraid of making such a big change.”

The fear of change is one of the most common concerns seniors have when they start to explore moving to an assisted living community. Because it’s difficult to express that emotion, however, they might not admit it right away. Patience and heart-to-heart talks with your mom might be necessary.

Try to put yourself in her shoes as much as you can. Think about all she’s facing: giving up her home, moving to an unfamiliar place, and being surrounded by people she doesn’t know. Start by just visiting a handful of communities together to see what they are like. If you share your concerns with the staff ahead of time, they can introduce her to a few residents and help make her feel welcome.

  • “Assisted living is for rich people.”

Finances are another concern seniors have when they begin to consider assisted living. It might initially seem like a big expense. However, when you break the costs of assisted living down and compare them to living at home, it’s easier to see how affordable it is.

If this fear is holding your mom back, try to sit down with her to chat. Review the different ways to pay for assisted living and all of the services and amenities that are included. Also talk about the expenses associated with living at home, especially when she needs more care and support.

  • “I’m afraid I won’t fit in.”

It’s human nature to worry you won’t be accepted or feel comfortable when you move to a new place. When your mom says she’s not ready for assisted living, what she might be feeling is anxiety about whether she’ll fit in. You can address this concern in a few ways.

First, remind her that she’ll be able to maintain relationships with the family and friends she already has. She can invite them to lunch, dinner, or a special event.

You could suggest narrowing down the options to one or two communities, and then get to know each one better. Most assisted living communities invite prospective residents to join them for meals and life enrichment activities.

Encouraging a Senior to Make a Move

Finally, remember that reluctance or resistance are natural responses to change. This is a big decision, so a senior’s concerns are perfectly understandable. While it may take a while for your mother to see the benefits of a move, the two of you will likely be able to work through her concerns.

I wish you and your mom the best as you try to make an informed decision about her future.

Kind regards,


Schedule a Visit to a Heritage Community

With locations throughout Michigan and one in Indiana, there are many options for a senior loved one to find an assisted living community that’s a good fit. Call the Heritage community of your choice to set up a personal tour today!