When It’s Not Safe for Your Loved One to Live Alone

man sitting on a bench by himself

Convincing a Loved One to Move to Assisted Living

How to Approach This Delicate Process


Consider this scenario: Your mother has been living in the same house where you grew up for the last 60 years. After your father passed away several years ago, she’s been insistent on staying put—but you can see her struggling. While she can still do many things for herself, she’s having a harder time keeping up with household chores and having difficulty navigating the stairs. You’re also worried that she’s suffering socially, spending too much time isolated in her home.

Your mom can still do many things for herself, and you want her to be in a place that both appreciates her independence but will be there to help her with any challenges she has.

How do you convince her it is no longer safe for her to remain in her home?

How do you broach the topic of assisted living?

Convincing a loved one to move to assisted living can be a delicate and challenging process. Here are some steps and strategies to approach the conversation:

  • Begin by expressing your concerns and emotions openly. Encourage a two-way conversation where your loved one feels heard and respected.
  • Emphasize the positives of assisted living, such as professional care, safety, and access to social activities. Focus on how it can enhance your loved one’s quality of life and provide the support they need.
  • Acknowledge their desire for independence. Frame the move as a way to maintain autonomy while getting assistance with daily tasks, ensuring a balance between freedom and necessary support.
  • Discuss specific safety concerns at home that assisted living can address. This may include fall risks, medication management, or emergency response systems, underlining the importance of a secure environment.
  • Arrange visits to potential assisted living communities together. Seeing the facilities firsthand allows your loved one to envision the environment, meet staff, and participate in the decision-making process.
  • Engage a third-party. Enlist the help of a doctor, social worker, or another professional to discuss the benefits of assisted living objectively. Sometimes, an external perspective can carry more weight.
  • Emphasize the social aspect of assisted living, where they can build new friendships and engage in group activities. Combat potential feelings of loneliness by showcasing the vibrant community life.
  • If possible, consider a gradual transition. This could involve starting with in-home care before moving to assisted living. This incremental approach may help ease the adjustment.
  • Be transparent about the financial aspects. Discuss the costs involved and explore financial options, including insurance coverage or government assistance, to alleviate concerns.
  • Ultimately, respect their autonomy and decision-making. Be patient, and revisit the conversation over time. Understanding and addressing their fears or reservations is crucial in this process.

Remember that the decision to move to assisted living is a significant life change. Perhaps the most meaningful thing you can say is to remind your loved one how much you care about them and their well-being, and how much you want to support them to live a long and happy life so that you can make more memories together as a family. Approach the conversation with empathy, patience, and a genuine understanding of your loved one’s needs and preferences.


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