Trying to Convince Your Parent with Dementia to Move to Memory Care

Mature African American mother hugging her daughter.

You’re concerned about how your mom or dad will adjust to life in a retirement home memory care unit. In fact, you’re having second thoughts about whether they should move there at all.

It’s been a struggle trying to convince them why the move is necessary. They’ve been resisting you almost every step of the way. And their memory problems aren’t helping any. Every time you talk with them about it, it’s as if you’re starting the conversation from scratch.

Not only that, other members of your family may be questioning why you think your parent should be “put in a home.”

Should you just give up on the idea?

Finding a way forward

It’s only natural to have second thoughts. You’re probably feeling a lot of different emotions. Guilt and frustration may be among them.

Here’s how to manage your doubts:

Revisit your reasons for considering memory care

First of all, remind yourself why you thought memory care was necessary in the first place. For instance, have there been incidents that caused you to worry about your parent’s safety? Don’t sweep the reasons under the rug. If you simply leave things the way they are, you’ll regret it if something serious happens the next time.

Don’t let dissenting family members unduly influence you

Family members who think your parent should stay put at home may not have a complete picture of the extent to which dementia is placing them at risk. And if they’re not the primary caregiver, they may not have as much “skin in the game.” If that’s the case, try not to give their opinion too much weight.

Recognize that convincing your parent may not be possible

Finally, you may have to accept that you simply won’t be able to persuade your parent that moving to memory care is a good idea. But here’s the thing: that doesn’t necessarily mean the move shouldn’t go ahead.

Because of their dementia, they may be unable to realize they have a problem. That isn’t denial; they genuinely believe they don’t need help. Nothing you say will convince them otherwise.

If they’ve lost the capacity to decide where they should live, and you’re effectively making the decision for them, you may have to live with the reality that they simply won’t like it, but proceed anyway.

When they get upset, hear them out, even if they’re pushing your buttons. Allow them to express their frustration. Don’t try to convince them how much better things will be in memory care.

Listen and empathize. Tell them you can see why they’re so upset. You’d be upset too if you were in their shoes. Reassure them they don’t have to like it. The end. No arguing.

Staying the course is challenging, but it’s preferable to waiting for a full-blown crisis to trigger a move.

Get help

These sorts of conversations aren’t easy. That’s why it can be helpful to involve someone outside your family who understands the issues involved with older adults who have dementia.

We get calls from families struggling with these difficult discussions every day, and often we’re able to help them move forward. If you’re stuck, we can talk things through with you, offer some advice, and – if it makes sense – chat with your parent. Contact us at a community near you, we’ll be happy to assist you.

New call-to-action
Skip to content