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Caring for Parents

As our parents age, the question of when to transition them into assisted living becomes a delicate, personal decision. This choice is often intertwined with emotions, practical considerations, and the desire to ensure the well-being of aging parents. Here are three important factors to consider when caring for your parents and making this decision.

Assessing Health and Safety Needs

The primary concern in determining the need for assisted living is the health and safety of aging parents. Evaluate their ability to perform daily activities independently, such as bathing, dressing, and managing medications. If there are signs of declining health, increased frailty, or a higher risk of accidents, assisted living may provide the answer.

Look for indicators such as frequent falls, forgetfulness, or difficulties managing household tasks. Engage in open communication with healthcare professionals to gain insights into your parents’ current and potential future needs. Assessing their physical and mental well-being serves as a foundation for making an informed decision about the level of care.

Social and Emotional Well-being

Isolation and loneliness can significantly impact the overall well-being of seniors. I know first-hand, how a lonely parent’s health can decline rapidly. If your parents are experiencing a lack of social interaction, assisted living communities can offer a supportive environment for engagement. Consider the emotional aspects of their current living situation, and evaluate whether assisted living will be a more socially connected lifestyle.

Family dynamics also play a role in this decision. Assess the availability of family members to provide support.  Recognizing that the emotional well-being of both aging parents and their caregivers is important and impacts the entire family.

Financial Impact

The financial impact of assisted living is a huge consideration. Explore the costs associated with various assisted living options. You must factor in services, amenities, and potential future healthcare needs. Consult with financial advisors to understand the long-term implications and available resources.  You don’t realize how expensive adult care facilities are especially as the level of care rises through the years.

Additionally, assess the practicality of managing the current living situation. If the maintenance of a home becomes challenging, assisted living may offer a more practical solution. Balancing financial concerns with practical daily needs is essential for making a well-rounded decision.

Difficult Nature of the Decision

Deciding when to transition aging parents into assisted living is one of the most challenging decisions a family can face. It requires careful consideration of individual needs, family dynamics, and the emotional well-being of everyone involved. Recognize that this decision is deeply personal, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Open communication, empathy, and involving your parents in the decision-making process can help navigate the difficulties.  This ensures that the chosen path supports their wishes and quality of life.

The decision to move aging parents into assisted living is complex and demands thoughtful consideration. By prioritizing health, social and emotional well-being, financial considerations, families can work together. As adult children, you must make choices that prioritize their support, recognizing that the well-being of both parents. It’s not easy, but it’s a fact of life as we all age.


By Kathy Husser (Tempe)

Kathy Husser is a Tempe librarian and educator who enjoys travel and learning about our global cultures. With post pandemic traveling open up more and more, Kathy wants to share resources for family friendly getaways and fun trips to meet your vacation needs. She enjoys gardening, the outdoors and cooking too!