How to talk to elderly relatives about assisted living


Late last year, the Douglas Shire Council extended the development lease for the Mossman Aged Care Centre by two years.

The center is expected to take about 18 months to build with construction to begin after the current wet season.

With the new facility just around the corner, it begs the question; how do you approach the subject of assisted living with elderly relatives?

It’s never an easy topic to begin a discussion about but, for many people, it is a conversation that will be necessary as they age.

Executive Manager at Envigor Home Care, Tracey Silvester, said the New Year is a good time to begin these sometimes-difficult conversations. 

"Many families come into the new year really concerned about how their ageing family members are coping,” she said.

“We often worry about whether they really are safe living in the big old house with lots of stairs, the original carpet and a huge backyard to mow."

Ms Silvester is a Registered Nurse and has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Health Management.

She is also an Associate Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Management and a surveyor with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.

Ms Silvester said it’s important to address the subject of assisted living with respect and care. 

"Before you do or say anything just remember that your family members are adults and have been making their own (usually) sensible decisions for a lot longer than you have been alive," she said.

"Even if life is becoming more of a challenge for them, there are still lots of decisions that they make every day that are theirs to make.

"Unless your loved one has advanced dementia, they have the capacity to make a whole range of choices about their lives."

Ms Silvester’s top tip for broaching the subject is recognising your relative’s choice and independence is key to successfully transitioning to assisted living. 


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