Dear Donna:

My mom has been living alone the last five years since my dad passed. While she did well the first few years, her health has been declining over the last two. She lives in an older home with a lot of stairs, outdated bathrooms, and a detached garage set back from the house. It’s not a great environment for a senior who is struggling.

My husband and I help her as much as possible, but we both work full time. My worry is something will happen to her, and we won’t know until it’s too late. I’m also concerned that she is lonely and isolated. She deserves a better quality of life.

I would like to talk with my mom about moving to an assisted living community, but I’m not sure how to start the conversation. I really have no idea how she might feel about it. Do you have any advice?


Cindy in Holland, MI

Tips for Talking with an Aging Parent about Assisted Living

Dear Cindy,

It sounds like your mom would be an ideal candidate for a move to an assisted living community. Too often we see families waiting for a crisis to occur before considering a move. Doing so overlooks how much an assisted living community has to offer, such as good nutrition, fitness opportunities, friendship, and the chance to participate in activities.

Take the following steps to learn about assisted living and to start the conversation with your mom:

  • Learn about the benefits: Spend some time researching the benefits assisted living communities offer to residents. From safety features, like grab bars and barrier-free showers, to socialization, assisted living communities support an improved quality of life.
  • Explore local options: Adult children may decide to visit local assisted living communities to see what is available. It will allow you to better understand pricing structure, availability, and each community’s unique personality. You can rule out those that aren’t a good fit. Once you talk with your mother about moving, you can visit communities that seem like the best options.
  • Create talking points: Before you sit down with your mother, think through what you’ve learned about assisted living communities. How will this move allow your mom (and you) to enjoy a better quality of life? Also, consider potential roadblocks she may bring up. For example, is your mom likely to think it’s too expensive? Be prepared to talk through the cost of remaining at home—insurance, groceries, utilities, lawn care, snow removal, and more.
  • Be realistic: It’s rare that a senior will agree to give up their home and move during a single conversation. Unless her safety is immediately at risk, this will likely be a series of conversations you have before your mom begins to visit communities. Forcing a timeline can result in her refusing to consider moving at all.

I hope these tips are helpful to you, Cindy! Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Kind regards,


Heritage Senior Communities in Michigan and Indiana

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