The Cottages Blog

Kicking off the “assisted living conversation” with an older loved one can be a draining and difficult prospect, but it is not impossible. In fact, there are examples of families who have gone through the ordeal themselves that serve as powerful reminders of the most effective strategies to employ when attempting to navigate all things senior care, like our feature on Nell Brackin and Tonitia Butler.

Making the Move Guide

In this blog, we’ll be providing an overview of the most important lessons learned from their experience.

Research Is Essential

Going into this kind of sensitive conversation blind, with limited knowledge about the kinds of senior care that exist and what sorts of assisted living communities provide the best outcomes, would be doing your family a disservice. Read about Tonitia Butler’s approach, and you’ll find that she and her siblings did their homework before bringing the topic up with their mother.

Knowing as much as possible means that making decisions, along with explaining the options — and the benefits — in regards to assisted living is much easier. Because Tonitia was well informed, she and her siblings were able to find the right community for their mother, and articulate why a move was the right decision.

Be Direct and Understanding

In talking with a loved one about making a transition to assisted living, it’s important to be direct about what you are saying while still being understanding of their thoughts and desires.

Tonitia’s case serves as a stark example, as she did not mince words in telling her mother that the time had come for a change, but, at the same time, stayed cognizant of her mother’s feelings. Tonitia vowed that the family would keep Nell’s desires in mind, and find a community that would provide support while still respecting her freedom.

family meeting

Work Together

Building off the previous point, Tonitia’s case shows how having the family work together toward finding the right senior care solution can help reach a conclusion that suits everyone. After they identified their options, Tonitia and her siblings were adamant that they wouldn’t make a final decision unless their mother felt comfortable with it.

Central to ensuring their mother felt comfortable with The Cottages was taking her there in person for a visit. Seeing how a community functions firsthand puts everything out on the table, allowing a family to evaluate as a unit and reach a decision together.

Make Sure Your Loved One’s Needs Are Met

While no two cases are exactly alike, there’s a common thread that permeates most — ensuring that a loved one’s physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs are all met is key to providing them with the best experience possible.

Tonitia’s family knew that, while their mother’s physical condition had declined, she still liked to stay active and loved participating in the church. Finding a community where she could continue practicing her faith in the company of others, and stay engaged with other activities was paramount, and allowed the family to narrow down options to communities like The Cottages, which provided the greatest amount of enrichment for residents.

Is talking about assisted living easy? Not always, but looking to the path forged by others can offer guidance on how to do so as effectively as possible. Families pondering assisted living should arm themselves with as much knowledge as they can about the various care options that exist, and work together to identify the solutions that best fit their needs.





Susan Abercrombie
Written by: Susan Abercrombie

Susan has 32 years of nursing experience caring for seniors in assisted living and doctors’ offices. She now manages two Cottage communities in Alabama. Susan and her husband of 30 years, Tim, have two dogs, Sydney and Macy.

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