Starting the Conversation about Senior Living with a Parent
Has home upkeep become too difficult for your aging parent? Does your parent have trouble performing daily tasks without help? Is it time for your loved one to move into senior living?
If so, it may be time to have one of the toughest conversations you could imagine with your parent: Discussing a move to senior living.
While difficult, the conversation is crucial. And so is approaching it in the right way. You may try broaching it over the course of a few days, or even weeks.
Talking with a Parent about Assisted Living
1. Ease into the Conversation
You may want to start with a conversation about products or technologies that will make things easier for your parent, without bringing up the subject of assisted living.
For instance, you may ask if motion sensor lights would help your parent get around after dark, or if you should install handrails in the shower. After discussing changes that could be made to the home, the next suggestion might be to ask them to consider moving to a place where these safety features are already installed.
2. Keep It Positive
Approach the subject with a positive mindset for the best possible outcome. Rather than complaining or pointing out the challenges inherent in your parent choosing to live at home, talk about the benefits of a move to senior living.
3. Don’t Criticize
Don’t criticize your parent or point out how many things they can’t do any more. Keep the discussion solution-oriented.
4. Discuss Senior Living Indirectly
Can’t fathom the thought of suggesting your parent sell the house and move? Instead, mention a friend’s parent who did just that. And now lives happily across town in an apartment where yard work, housekeeping, and home repairs are all taken care of.
If even that kind of conversation seems too close for comfort, mention trends in senior living, or even programs your local senior community provides to non-residents. Talking about senior living may seem scary. Mentioning a yoga class or computer course offered at a senior living community shouldn’t upset your parent.
5. Share Your Emotions
Senior living is an emotionally charged topic, for sure. Sharing your emotions may help your parent see your side of the issue. Mention how you care about them —and worry about them when you can’t be around.
Ask how you can work together to improve the situation without overtly suggesting a move. Let your parent draw the conclusion so it feels like their idea.
6. Listen To Your Parent
When you followed this rule growing up, your life was probably a lot easier. Listening to your parent can make talking about senior living easier, too.
Ask open-ended questions about areas of life where they are having challenges, whether this relates to daily hygiene or home maintenance.
Talk with your parent about his or her social life and any feelings of loneliness. Depression often occurs in seniors who feel isolated. A move to senior living will give your parent plenty of activities to enjoy and peers to spend time with.
Be Patient and Show Empathy
Our final tip is to be patient. It might take several conversations before your parent even agrees to look at a few senior communities in the area. Unless outside factors make a move necessary immediately, let your parent set the pace and take time to choose the right senior living community.
When your aging parent is ready to make the move to senior living, Five Star is here to help.