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How do I help my grandparents make the transition to Assisted Living?


How do I help my grandparents make the transition to Assisted Living? My grandparents are in their mid-90's and have been married 70+ years. I am one of their primary caregivers (my shift is night and weekends). My mother and her brothers and sisters think they can just "wait" until they are unable to walk (or hold out until they reach their final resting place) BUT after reading the information on this web site, I feel they would be happier in Assisted Living because of the social aspect especially with respect to their increasing dementia. They miss people and are utterly bored every day.

Right now, "my" plan is to move with them to a Senior Independent Housing that allows for live-in caregivers under the age of 55. And eventually get them to consider Assisted Living. I feel that they need to be able to make the CHOICE to do so, even if we have to cajole and plead with them to try for this. They both have severe dementia. And have almost set the house on fire. My grandmother refuses to change her adult diaper half the time and won't sleep until midnight, if she sleeps at all. Can she even ever be able to have a set bedtime at this stage in her dementia?

So I guess this is a two-tiered question:

1) How do I get my family to be on the same page about my grandparents health, happiness, and living arrangements? (Everytime I mention that we need to talk about my grandparents future, they always redirect me by talking about how "we" don't know if they will be around next year, and that no one lives past 100 years old. :(

2) I am willing to be their part-time home care aide for at least the next 3-4 years. My grandparents are incredibly independent and come from a country where it is expected that you live and take care of your elders as long as they need it (i.e. until they reach heaven). How do I transition my grandparents to a senior living environment, and show them that this is a viable alternative?

I already feel guilty for even asking these questions, but I know in my brain if not my heart that Assisted Living would make them happier.

Any advice you could give would be most welcome.

Status: Open    Jun 18, 2015 - 01:27 PM

Relationships, Senior Living Communities

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2 answers


Jun 23, 2015 - 03:37 PM sound awesome and when and if you get your grandparents placed can you come take care of me?
I bet your parents are worried ..they are thinking if you do this for Grandma and Grandpa you are not going to want to take care of us!
If your grandparents are active I bet they would enjoy an active adult community.
Do a little research of communities in your area and when you find one or two that you like and think would suit them ask if they could "try on the community" for a few days. It would be like a vacation for them and they would know that it is not permanent so they would not worry that you are "putting them away" and your parents might feel better knowing that this is a trial so they would not feel guilty about "putting them away"
Many communities that have Independent Living also have the transition into Assisted then Memory care if that is needed. So if the community that you find can do that it will be much less of a transition for them as they will know the grounds, the staff and the building. Much less trauma if no dramatic move is involved.
Good luck and remember, yes we need to respect our elders and take care of them but quality of time spent with them is better than quantity. Sometimes having someone help with the little day to day stuff, the "dirty work" so to speak you can spend more relaxed time with them not having to clean, do laundry, do the shopping and all the rest of the stuff you do.
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By Melusine on Oct 09, 2016 - 09:48 PM | Like (0)  |  Report

With assistance, would they be able to stay in their home? Can they still safely bathe, drive, take prescriptions, cook? What does their doctor say? My mother has dementia in Assisted Living. My MIL is in Independent living. Both have access to weekly housekeeping, laundry, daily meals, bingo, TGIF, a van to Walmart, some outside and onsite events. It helps if they have some hobby they can still do in their room, if your grandparents like to tinker. How involved they choose to be, will determine their happiness. We made a list of what mother wanted (1 story/enclosed courtyard with easy access etc.) We had lunch at each option, to see the interaction between staff and residents. Some allow you to bring your pet. Once she decided, we checked all phone access to insure mom kept her same phone number of 50 years. We made a binder of contact and neighbors, so all could keep in touch. Mom stayed out of town for a week with eldest sister, while a group of us cleaned and moved mother's furniture/pictures/clothes into her 'suite'. So all her pretties were in place and what she saw was everything familiar set up comfortably. It took awhile to settle in, but with her dementia--it is a blessing, as she is at least able to follow the daily routine with prompting and says she is happy. My MIL has a fuller life, as she is 100% still. My mom, less so-as she does not participate as fully daily. My sister's both were resistant at first too, but the "36 Hour Day" my doctor had me read (her parent's also had Alzheimer's) really helped set a course-which ultimately has been for the best, as both sister's are older and have own health issues. Just as my mother had to deal with her parent's decline, so must yours and then you theirs. As my dad used to say "Ain't none of us getting out of this one alive"! So know you aren't alone. I am thankful for 'a place for mom' that helped me sort through issues early on--- it is hoped you too with find the right path for you and yours.

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Feb 26, 2016 - 10:20 AM

Go girl/man, you are right in rational terms. Now you have to work on the emotional problems. Have a family meeting with an experienced CM--preferably a social worker who is wholistic and not focused only on medical issues? Using an outsider can help a family to see different viewpoints. Sometime they respect a professional more than a family member.
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