The process of finding the right assisted living community for your parents is an important one for any family. When you have one or more siblings to help out with the process, there are even more factors involved. Perhaps there are assisted living myths you need to look into together, your siblings live all around the country, or you each have a different idea of what’s best for your parents.
As with any transition, you may find that you and your family members handle it differently. As you begin to consider assisted living for your parents, follow the tips below to keep your siblings involved, make sure everyone’s voice is heard, and ultimately make the right decision according to your parents’ needs.
Involve your siblings early in the process
Once assisted living is an option that your parents are ready to consider, it can be easy to start planning and researching on your own. But if you go too far without consulting your siblings, they may feel left out or pressured to agree with you once it’s time to talk together.
Avoid this tension by involving your siblings early in the process. As soon as you and your parents are ready to consider assisted living, initiate a gentle and honest conversation with your siblings. Introducing the topic with an open mind (and without figuring everything out on your own) will open the door for collaboration between all your family members.
This approach also allows you to get a feel for what matters to everyone. You and your siblings can weigh in on topics like location, price range, and amenities. Since it’s early on in the process, everyone’s opinions can be weighed equally and you can move forward on the same page.
Make a list of what matters to everyone
While making the move to assisted living will likely give your parents an improved quality of life, it’s no small decision — and this is especially important when there are several members of the family who want to weigh in on the matter.
So, as you and your parents start to assemble a list of what characteristics to look for in an assisted living community, encourage your siblings to add to the list, as well. This step will look different for every family as each individual’s concerns are unique. Go over the topics above, including price, location, and amenities, and build a list to work off of in the future.
Maybe you want to find the most affordable community in your area, while your sister is willing to contribute to the budget to make sure your parents have all the amenities they need. Perhaps your brother wants to make sure your parents can keep their furniture while you think it may be time to find a new home for these pieces.
Of course, the central point of it all is what your parents want in their assisted living community. By making a list as you talk together, you can use it as a comprehensive guide that can aid you through the process of finding the right community for your parents.
Tour assisted living communities together
Once you’ve made a list of your priorities and found communities that seem to align with that list, it’s time to tour the community. Remember that one of the most effective ways to keep the peace with your siblings is to keep them involved. That’s also true when it’s time to tour communities.
This isn’t always possible if some of your siblings live out of town or have hectic schedules. Still, it’s a good idea to let your siblings know about the upcoming tours, even if you don’t think they will be able to come. Many people want to be invited even if they can’t be involved, so be just as open about your plans with your sister across the country as you are with your brother down the street.
When you do tour the communities, address the list you made together throughout the visit. If applicable, ask a staff member specific questions regarding concerns that your family members share. Take notes throughout the tour and pass them along to your siblings after the fact.
Be mindful of distances between the family
There are two sides that many children can fall into as they find an assisted living community for their parents: feeling isolated from the process and feeling too responsible for the process. If your siblings live out of town, they may be upset that they can’t be as involved as you can. Meanwhile, you may begin to feel as though the whole process is falling on your shoulders.
To avoid and move past these, try to remember what’s the focus here. While it’s important for every member of the family to feel involved, the ultimate goal is to find a healthy, happy community where your parents can be safe, keep up with their hobbies, and retain their social lives. In your communication with your siblings, try to emphasize the fact that all of you just want what’s best for your parents. You’re all working toward the same goal, no matter where you are.
Another step that will help you be mindful of distances is to keep your siblings involved even after your parents move into assisted living. Offer to set up video chats between your siblings and your parents. Let your siblings know about holiday plans well in advance, work together on brainstorming gifts, or even collaborate on a Christmas card/scrapbook together.
Be open and honest through the process
It’s perfectly natural for family issues to come to the surface during this time of transition. What may start as butting heads when establishing a budget can evolve into a full dispute over how this process will affect each sibling’s inheritance.
Following the steps above will help you avoid tensions with your siblings and parents. Remember that you all want what’s best for your parents and that some of the issues that may arise are childhood problems that were never fully resolved. This can be a good time to address these issues together.
Whether the process is smooth or difficult to work through, be open and honest with your siblings and parents throughout the process. Try to keep a level head, focus on the root of an issue, and be kind and honest with your siblings every step of the way. In the end you and your siblings can find an assisted living community that your entire family will love.