When Talking About Assisted Living with an Elderly Parent, Be Sure to Listen Too

It is more important to listen to your aging senior when discussing the topic of assisted living.

It is more important to listen to your aging senior when discussing the topic of assisted living.

We live in an information age and a social media-crazed society. Sure, we can have access to almost every type of information available, and because of technology, information is increasing at an exponential rate, but with social media, most people have gotten into the habit of sharing their opinions only. They don’t listen very well.

What does this have to do with the elderly and assisted living? Well, a lot, actually. Even though many elderly men and women have been slow to embrace technology, with some perhaps not even having a smartphone or other device, there are those who are on Facebook and Instagram, following along on TikTok, and getting all of their news information from these sources.

That’s all well and good, but we’re talking about communication skills. When people are consuming information, they are rarely asking questions. Sure, there are comment sections to post on these social media outlets, but it’s not exactly a “conversation.” It’s two one-way forms of communication that are often slow and miss out on many nuances that are crucial in good communication streams.


What does this mean with regard to assisted living?

If you have an aging loved one, such as an elderly parent, who may be struggling with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), you might be concerned about their safety. You want to talk about elder care, such as assisted living, but are you approaching it as though you are posting on one of your social media outlets?

In other words, are you simply talking and not really listening? After all, how many people who post things online listen to what others comment about? Do they get angry and upset if somebody disagrees with them? What if that person calls them a name? Do they delete them, block them, and have nothing to do with them?

That’s the kind of society we are developing here. Listening is one of the most important communication tools we have, and we are losing that skill rapidly.


If you talked about assisted living with this aging parent, what was their reaction?

Don’t consider the reaction per se, such as storming out of the house or telling you they don’t want to hear, but rather the questions, comments, or body language that could convey important information and open doors to furthering this conversation.

When you’re talking to an aging parent about assisted living or some other elder care topic, make sure you are not just talking over them but listening as best you can to them. Human beings communicate in many ways, including words, body language, temperament, and even eye contact.

When you mentioned assisted living, did their head drop, shoulder sag, or show signs of fear? What could that be about? Ask questions. Find out what they think assisted living is.

And before you really get deep into the topic of assisted living, reach out to a local facility, take a tour, and learn as much as you can about it so that you can properly address the spoken and unspoken forms of communication your loved one is expressing about this important topic of elder care.



If you or an aging loved one are considering a move to an Assisted Living facility near Chickasaw, AL, contact Ashbury Manor Specialty Care and Assisted Living at 251-317-3017.

About Cindy Johnson

Ashbury Manor’s Administrator since 2008, Cindy Johnson is a long-time expert in the assisted living field. Prior to her arrival at Ashbury Manor, Cindy managed acquisitions and crisis management for existing and new larger senior care project developments for eleven years. As regional manager for an Oregon-based assisted living management company, Cindy was directly responsible for operations for five 50-65 bed assisted living facilities. As manager during the transition to new ownership, Cindy reorganized internal operations and conducted leadership training for Executive Directors. As a result of her management and expertise, one of the company’s facilities (in Ocala, Florida) received a deficiency-free survey, resulting in the lifting of a moratorium on operation.

A nurse for 36 years, senior care has always been Cindy’s passion. Desiring to work more closely with residents, Cindy became a Category II Administrator in 2005. As Ashbury Manor’s Administrator, Cindy understands the complexities associated with dementia and cognitive impairment and she has fallen in love with seniors with dementia or cognitive impairment and their families.

Cindy is Treasurer of the local “Senior Coalition” chapter. She enjoys mentoring new candidates who want to become administrators.

As a 16-bed facility, with Cindy's training and experience, our residents and their families can be sure Ashbury Manor’s carefully selected staff provides the expertise of a larger facility while maintaining the individualized personal care of a small special needs home.
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