When Parents Say No to Assisted Living: Steps You Can Take

After months of worrying about your parents living safely alone and weeks of learning about the benefits of assisted living, you finally sat down with your loved ones to have the conversation. And when you asked them if a community seemed like a great alternative, you received their answer: No.

So you discussed their increasing need for personal help and how hard it was to keep up with the house. You may have even pleaded—pointing out your anxiety and how much better it could be if they had extra support. Yet it felt like all logic and reason had left the room. The need was evident and the solution seemed obvious—but the answer was clear. No.

If it helps, you are not alone. And while many families begin navigating their assisted living journey at this starting point, there are several responses and steps you can take if your parents say no.

Understanding the Resistance: Why Parents May Say No

Comprehending the reasons behind the answer can help you better approach the situation.

  1. Fear of the Unknown: Assisted living can be a misunderstood concept to many older adults. They might imagine an institutional environment and be unaware of the benefits. In reality, today’s assisted living communities are vibrant, full of friendships and tailored to individual needs.
  2. Loss of Independence: Older adults may say no to assisted living because they fear they’ll lose autonomy, be restrained in activities and won’t be able to make personal choices. But communities support a resident’s independence.
  3. Emotional Attachment: Their home may represent years of memories and milestones that were celebrated. Leaving it can feel like leaving behind a part of themselves. They may not understand they can create a genuine home in the community.
  4. Financial Concerns: Financial security is a priority, and many older adults worry about assisted living costs. Learning the actual fees and how comparable they can be to remaining at home and matching this active lifestyle can bring clarity. 

Navigating the Resistance: Effective Steps to Take

  1. Open the Conversation: If your parents say no to assisted living, listen empathetically. Ask open-ended questions to understand their concerns better. It’s essential to approach the topic with patience and understanding and not make them feel pressured.
  2. Educate: Misconceptions can fuel resistance. Consider arranging a tour of a few communities in the area. Let them meet staff and residents, participate in an activity or share a meal with the residents. Seeing the reality versus the misconception can be an eye-opener.
  3. Emphasize Safety and Health: Considering a move to assisted living can be the result of a health or safety concern. If your parents say no, they may be struggling to accept this shift. Try matching up a need to a benefit that communities offer, such as undernourishment to the great dining choices.
  4. Discuss Finances: Break down the costs of living at home with the supports needed for a quality life. Compare it with the all-inclusive fee structure of many assisted living communities. It’s often surprising to find the costs more comparable than assumed.
  5. Highlight the Social Benefits: Loneliness can be a silent risk to older adults. Your parents may find themselves socially isolated if there are few opportunities for interacting or transportation. Talk about the social activities, new friendships and community atmosphere that assisted living offers.
  6. Reiterate Your Concerns: Your worry stems from love. If your parents have said no to assisted living, remind them that this discussion is based on your desire to see them safe, happy and well cared for. Sometimes, framing the conversation as what would give you peace of mind can make a difference.
  7. Involve a Neutral Party: Sometimes, hearing the same message from a neutral or professional perspective can help. Consider involving a trusted family doctor, geriatric care manager or counselor in the discussion if resistance continues.
  8. Consider a Trial Period: Ask if the community you are considering offers short-term stays. This could give your parents a chance to experience assisted living without a long-term commitment, and they can make an informed decision afterward.
  9. Seek Support for Yourself: Remember, this is a challenging time for the family as well. If your parents said no to assisted living, seek support from counseling, support groups or even friends who have been through a similar experience.
  10. Revisit the Conversation: Remember, the assisted living decision is usually not a one-time discussion. Give your parents time to consider and get used to this transition. If your loved ones are not in crisis, prepare to approach the topic multiple times before arriving at a decision.

Assisted Living at Presbyterian Village North

At Presbyterian Village North, we are here whenever a helping hand is needed. Offering spacious studio, one- and two-bedroom residences, our residents personalize their choice to create the homes where they will live their highest quality of life.

Imagine a new life that includes a well-stocked library, a private dining room available for family celebrations and endless opportunities to make new friends and memories—all with the reassurance of living in a gated community with around-the-clock security.

We also provide the following services:

  • Licensed nursing staff onsite 24/7
  • Medication management administered by certified medication aides
  • Assistance with activities of daily living
  • Chef-prepared cuisine—meals per day with varied, all-day dining options
  • Dedicated Assisted Living Concierge
  • Special activities and social programs
  • Access to a full continuum of care
  • Expanded gym and aquatic center
  • Music and art programming
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Convenient access to mobile healthcare services onsite including dental, podiatry, optometry, audiology, mobile x-ray and lab, and dietician
  • Full onsite pharmacy
  • And so much more!

Presbyterian Village North supports our residents to remain as independent as possible while living an enriched life. Please call 214-355-9015 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personal visit to our community.