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Discussing the Move to Residential Aged Care

It’s important to understand the mindset of your loved one before you broach the idea of a move to residential aged care. Your loved one is likely to be feeling a sense of loss – loss of control, choice, confidence, freedom, independence, ability, lifestyle, social connections…..loss of who I am. This is their perception.

With over 40 years’ experience in delivering residential aged care services, here’s some tips on how to make the conversation go positively.


  1. Perspective – put yourself in their shoes and understand how they would be feeling so you can reflect this back throughout the conversation.
  2. Speak to them alone– there’s no need for a large family intervention as this can be quite confronting.
  3. Take them on the journey – Make sure they feel involved in coming to the decision. A good way of doing this is along the lines of “Mum you mentioned you were finding it hard to get around the house. Should we look into options that can give you the help and security you need?”
  4. Challenge perceptions of residential aged care vs the reality. Take a private tour of the care communities and gather evidence to take back to your loved one to show them that residential aged care can be a great choice for keeping them safe, cared for and, equally important – socially connected and engaged (e.g. ask to see the lifestyle activities calendar, menus, talk to actual residents).
  5. Suggest a trial– respite care is a great way to show your loved one what aged care is really like. They can enter care on a short-term non-committal basis – from a few days to a few weeks.