Broaching the topic of assisted living with an elderly parent isn’t easy. After all, nursing homes don’t exactly have the best reputation, and living facilities often bring up fears about mortality, losing independence or leaving behind the family home.

However, a person turning age 65 has nearly a 70% chance of requiring some long-term care services in their remaining years. As difficult as the conversation may be, it isn’t something that should be delayed. A medical condition or accident can suddenly occur that makes assisted living an immediate necessity.

Having an ongoing and collaborative discussion with your parents about long term care plans can ease everyone’s anxiety and uncertainty about the future. When talking to your parents about long-term care, the following tips can help guide you:

Start the conversation early

If possible, having the assisted living discussion while your senior parent is still independent and active will make the subject much less threatening. Keep the conversation casual and focus on planning for the future. You don’t have to decide everything in one sitting but should try to have an ongoing discussion.

Keep them involved in decisions

If your parent can do so, involve them in the decision process for where they will live and the kind of care they will receive. Bringing them on tours of living facilities or communities will allow them to experience firsthand what their new community will be like. Respecting your parents’ wishes can make the transition significantly easier when they know what to expect.

Respect their concerns

Understandably, many seniors are resistant to the idea of care facility – even if it’s ultimately in their best interest. They may not want to relinquish control of their lives, sell their home or acknowledge that their care facility will likely be their last residence. It’s essential to listen to these concerns and reassure them senior living can improve their independence, social life and daily activities.

Moving into a long-term care facility is scary for many seniors. Speaking with your loved ones about assisted living early and listening to their concerns and needs can make things easier for everyone involved when the time comes.