Overcoming Awkward: Talking about Senior Living with an Elder
If you delay talking about senior living until a crisis occurs, the conversation will be even more stressful because of the limited time available. A crisis may force you to rush the process of exploring local communities. You are less likely to make an informed choice under these circumstances.
It’s best to begin talking about senior living while a parent is healthy enough to participate in the process. We have a few tips to help you do just that.
4 Tips to Initiate a Conversation with a Parent about Senior Living
1. Do your homework before starting the discussion.
Before you start a conversation about senior living with your aging parent, do your homework. Being familiar with local retirement communities will allow you to have a more productive discussion. Spending time researching online, and visiting a few senior living communities in person, will give you more confidence.
2. Be kind and empathetic when you talk.
Try to put yourself in your parent’s shoes the best you can. Think about how you would feel if you were the one who needed to give up your home and move to a safer environment. Also keep in mind that many older adults have outdated ideas about what senior living is and isn’t. It can cause them to be more resistant to this discussion.
Your parent might be fearful of a variety of issues:
- Perceived loss of autonomy and privacy
- Worries about running out of money
- Concerns family and friends will forget about them
It is important to think carefully about each of these concerns as you try to move forward.
3. Start the discussion early.
Moving to a senior living community is a big event. While it opens the door to an exciting new chapter in life, the changes that it brings can be intimidating.
Understand that this will be a process that requires more than one discussion.
This is why you need to bring up the topic early and allow your parent to slowly adjust to the idea. They might not see the benefits associated with moving to a senior living community as clearly as you do.
4. Avoid hostility and accusations.
When you are worried about an aging parent’s well-being, it’s easy to let those fears take over. If a parent doesn’t agree with your perception of what is best for them, don’t get hostile. It will likely make your parent more defensive and the conversation less productive.
You may even need to drop the topic for a few weeks or accept that you are not the best person to have this discussion. Some older adults take advice better from a professional, such as their doctor.
Visit Five Star Senior Living to Learn More
If you are preparing to talk with a parent about moving to a senior living community, we invite you to visit a Five Star community first. One of our experienced team members will be happy to take you on a tour and answer your questions. Call us today at 617-796-8387 to set up a time!