Preparing Emotionally for Moving a Parent to Assisted Living

Category: Assisted Living | Frequently Asked Questions

Moving family to assisted living is a significant and emotional transition that many adult children face. It’s a decision often accompanied by a mix of relief, guilt, and sadness. Preparing emotionally for this change is just as important as the practical aspects of the move. It’s normal to experience a range of emotions, and it’s essential to give yourself the time and space to process them.

A woman is going over assisted living options with her elderly mother.

Let’s explore some strategies to help you manage this emotional journey and support your parent through this transition. It’s also okay to seek support for yourself during this challenging time.

Contact Haven Health today!

How To Deal With the Guilt of Putting a Parent in Assisted Living

Moving a parent to a skilled nursing facility can evoke intense feelings of guilt. This response is common and normal. You may be thinking, did we act too quickly? Is this the right decision? Is assisted living really necessary? When confronting these emotions, it is important to do so in a healthy, productive manner. Negative emotions don’t have to last forever, especially not if you keep a few things in mind during the transition:

  • Be patient and give it time: During the initial phase of the transition, negative emotions are intense and can be made worse by the overwhelming changes. Adjusting to assisted living will take time. If your loved one is having difficulty adjusting, it will be hard on you as well. Be patient. Keep the big picture in mind and focus on the reasons you made the decision in the first place, whether it be safety, health, security, sanity, or a combination of them all.
  • Don’t tackle the task alone: If you want to visit often during the initial phase of the move, don’t expect too much from yourself. You have a life of your own to live, and situations may arise that prevent you from spending time with your loved one. Enlist the help of friends and family to provide support and visit as well. This can help ease feelings of abandonment or loneliness your loved one may be feeling and help ease some of the anxiety that comes with tackling this challenge alone.
  • Expect setbacks: There will be good days and bad days. It is important to understand that bad days are going to occur. How you manage these setbacks can make all the difference.
  • Allow yourself the experience: Feel all of your emotions and acknowledge the difficult parts. You will inevitably have a wide range of emotions, and all of them are normal. It can seem like the best mode of dealing with them is to push them down, but this simply is not accurate. Allow yourself to acknowledge the emotions you are feeling and remember that they are valid. Once you have taken the time to experience the emotions, you can learn to manage them in a healthy manner.
  • Set boundaries: During the transition, you may feel obligated to devote every moment of your time to easing your loved one’s anxiety and helping them settle. However, you also need to keep in mind that you have a responsibility to yourself. Try to free up as much time as possible to help during this transition, but also cut yourself some slack and understand that you are one person. You have a life and needs outside of your loved one.

How Long Does It Take for a Person To Adjust to Assisted Living?

Studies indicate that, on average, it takes approximately three to six months for a person to adjust to assisted living. Remember that this is a generality, not a rule. Adjusting could be shorter or longer depending on the person and the resources in place.

Considering moving your parent to a skilled nursing facility? Contact Haven Health.

How Do You Tell a Parent They Are Moving to Assisted Living?

The conversation of moving a parent to an assisted living facility is not easy. It is a conversation that should be handled with care and planning. You can facilitate this process by taking a few simple steps:

  • Do your research: Your loved one is going to have questions. Being able to definitively answer them will help the conversation go more smoothly.
  • Be respectful and empathetic: You are discussing a life-altering change. It is going to take time for your loved one to process and digest. Understand that this is going to be a difficult process. By being respectful and empathetic, you can more effectively communicate.
  • Plan to have multiple conversations: This is not going to be a one-and-done conversation. Plan to revisit the conversation multiple times before beginning the transition.
  • Have well thought out reasons for the move: Explain to your loved one in a respectful and well-thought-out manner why assisted living or a skilled nursing facility is the best option for them

Assisted Living With Haven Health

A caretaker is laughing with an elderly patient in assisted living.

Haven Health is a leading skilled nursing provider in Arizona. Our experienced and compassionate staff understand the anxiety and guilt that can come with transitioning a loved one into assisted living. We have the knowledge and understanding to help make this process as easy as possible. Our residents are family and are treated as such. We are ready and prepared to help provide the support you need during this difficult time.

Contact Haven Health for more information about our trusted nursing facilities. 


Beabout, L. (2022). How to tell your parent it’s time to move to an assisted living or nursing home.

Moving A Parent To Assisted Living: 12 Strategies To Ease The Transition. (2016).

Riedl, M., et al. (2013). Being a Nursing Home Resident: A Challenge to One’s Identity.