Assisted Living: Looking for the Signs and Having a Conversation With Your Senior Loved One

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As our parents age, it can be increasingly difficult for them to take care of themselves. From preparing meals to maintaining the house to getting around, there are a lot of things that can become challenging.

While most seniors want to age in place, there may come a time when assisted living is the best option. Below, Act Now Foundation discusses some behaviors or factors that indicate it might be time to have a conversation about moving your loved one to assisted living.

10 Signs It Might Be Time for Assisted Living

If you've noticed any of the following behaviors or changes in your elderly parent, it might be time to consider assisted living:

  1. They have trouble keeping up with their personal hygiene.

  2. They forget to take their medications or take them as prescribed.

  3. They're losing weight or not eating properly.

  4. They're experiencing more falls than usual.

  5. The condition of their home is deteriorating.

  6. They're becoming withdrawn and isolated from friends and family members.

  7. They can no longer drive safely.

  8. They exhibit signs of forgetfulness, confusion, or disorientation.

  9. Their bill paying or other financial responsibilities are being neglected.

  10. You're concerned about their safety when they're home alone.

Have a Conversation About Assisted Living

Once you've identified it might be time for your loved one to move into assisted living, it's essential to have a conversation about it with them — preferably before anything happens that would necessitate a move (such as a fall). This can be a difficult conversation to have, and you must approach it sensitively and productively.

Start by expressing your concerns and explain why you think assisted living would be beneficial for them. Reassure them that you'll help with the transition and that you're not abandoning them by suggesting this move; explain that you just want what's best for them and want them to be safe and happy.

Also, listen carefully to their concerns and address them directly. For example, if they're worried about the cost, explain that options are available, such as government assistance programs or long-term care insurance policies, that can help cover the cost of assisted living. And remember to remain open-minded and willing to consider their suggestions. If they don't want to leave their home, maybe there's another solution, such as in-home care services.

Take a Tour

If possible, tour some potential assisted living facilities together so your loved one can see that it doesn't have to be a scary or negative experience; many seniors discover that they enjoy the social aspects of assisted living. Once you've agreed on what's best for your loved one, take the necessary steps to make the transition as smooth as possible by helping them pack up their belongings and handling the paperwork.

Help Them Sell Their Business

If your elderly parent owns a business, offer to help them sell it in a way that gets them the best possible return. Ideally, you'll want to find a professional valuator who can come in and give an accurate estimate of the business' worth. This can be a difficult process, but your loved one can get the best price for their business with the help of an experienced professional.

How To Foster Your Relationship

Finally, don't forget about your relationship with your loved one as you navigate this next chapter. Here are a few tips for cultivating your relationship:

  • Make a point to visit them often.

  • Talk to them on the phone regularly.

  • Send them cards and letters (snail mail is still a thing!).

  • Take them on outings when you can.

  • Help them stay connected with their friends and family members.

  • Respect their independence and autonomy as much as possible.

  • Tell them you're always available to talk if they need to talk about anything.


No matter how difficult it might be, approaching the topic of assisted living with your senior parent is essential if you feel it's best for them. Consider the tips above for talking to your loved one, finding the right community, and helping them sell their business. And remember to foster your relationship along the way.

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