Making the decision to enter an assisted living community can be huge for individuals and their families. Each person comes to this decision based on their own reasoning and with careful consideration to their own situation. Regardless, it’s still a decision that brings with it numerous changes, and at Bethesda Senior Living Communities, we're cognizant that making such a major move can cause worry and stress.
This worry can often be amplified for family members. Even if loved ones were involved in the decision, there is still a period of adjustment. It’s normal after a big decision to rethink things and wonder if you considered every possibility. Wondering whether this was the right decision certainly adds to the worry factor.
But there’s no need to let that turn into long-term worry or stress. In fact, the Bible specifically tells us in numerous places not to worry. Here are some tips and considerations to reduce your worries so you can support your family member and enjoy your relationship with them as they settle into a new chapter in their own life.
Many people say, “Trust God, he will handle it all.” But it’s one thing to say it and another to do it. Especially when you’ve made a big life decision with a family member. Thankfully, there are numerous verses throughout the Bible that tell us this very thing. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus himself specifically tells us not to worry, saying, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
The point that Jesus is making is that we often get distracted from God’s will by getting lost in worry. Prior to verse 34, he points out that God takes care of the birds in the air and the beasts in the fields, so he will obviously take care of his children. This is the key: The way to avoid the worry that comes with having made a big decision, such as a loved one going to an assisted living community, is by focusing all our energy on God’s will.
There is no part of this life that God hasn’t accounted for. Often, people try to control things because they fear them, and getting older is one of those types of things. But here’s the thing: We can’t control it. It’s going to happen to every one of us. The good news is that God has specifically planned for that.
Just because someone is getting older doesn’t mean that God will ignore them or forget about them. There are plenty of verses and examples throughout the Bible that illustrate this. In the story of Ruth, the Bible talks about how the women told Ruth that God had given her Boaz to “renew” and “sustain” her in her old age.
Similarly, there are numerous references in the book of Job alluding to the wisdom that comes with age and the understanding one receives upon becoming older. There are also tons of examples of people advanced in age whom God still uses, from Abraham and Noah to the apostle John. Perhaps that’s why the references to the leaders of the church often use the title of “elder.”
Know that God has a plan for your older loved one, and that plan can play out as powerfully in an assisted living community as anywhere else!
Proverbs 29:20 tells us to give ourselves time to make the right decision. This means that we aren’t to do so hastily. The decision for a family member to enter into an assisted living community was likely not one made hastily.
But what does that matter? Well, James 1:5-6 tells us to ask God when we lack wisdom, and that we should believe and not doubt after having asked God. If we take the time to make the decision, and we have asked God about it, we should have firm faith that God has led our hearts to make the decision that he wants us to make.
The important thing is to understand that simply seeking some assistance for an aging loved one isn’t the end of the world. You can still spend time with your loved one and their life isn’t over. They’re just positioning themselves to be able to easily get help when needed and making a living situation choice that allows them to enjoy numerous amenities, access to social events and a comfortable home. These are all potentially huge benefits for them.
No one should enter into the decision to move into an assisted living community haphazardly. It’s an important decision that only you and your family can make. But if you determine that all parties involved are going to trust in God’s will, you can know the decision you made is the right one, whether you decided it was time to enter a new community or not.