We all know it – growing older is inevitable. Sadly, there comes a point in time where our wants, needs and abilities change, and though it is a normal way of life, these changes are sometimes difficult to accept. Therefore, many have found it challenging to talk to parents or loved ones about moving into a senior living community.
If you’ve approached this topic with apprehension, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are ways to help you start this conversation with a strong, positive foot forward.
Because the topic is tough to broach, many struggle to find the right time for this discussion. Even if you feel your parents or loved ones do not have an immediate need for senior living, it is recommended that you start the conversation as soon as possible. By establishing this line of communication early, your loved ones are less likely to feel pressured or overwhelmed by this discussion. They also can begin to think through this decision and become better acquainted with what transitioning into senior living would entail. This is also important so parents understand that, in the end, this decision falls in their hands – not yours.
However, sometimes despite our best intentions, we forget to plan ahead and find ourselves unprepared when accidents or calamities strike. Though crisis situations are not an ideal time to initiate a conversation about this topic, these moments can be excellent learning lessons that demonstrate the benefits of senior living. Having added help or an easier space to navigate should not be considered a loss of independence, but rather a proper precaution for the future.
Now that you know when to talk to your loved ones about moving into senior living, it’s time to explore how. The first rule of thumb to remember is that you should not criticize, belittle or push your parents or family members. Sometimes resistance is met with an argument, but it is important to avoid this type of encounter. Listening to their wants, needs and reservations without judgement will help them open up and will promote a healthy, two-way discussion. Express your concerns though make it clear you understand their reluctance and respect their opinions.
Another effective tactic is showing they have a variety of senior living options, and suggest exploring these. Although looking into such opportunities might be met with hesitation, let your loved ones know it would mean a lot to you if they visited a few different residences before coming to any conclusions on the matter. By doing so, they are more likely to make an informed decision about their future.
Finally, there are several untrue stigmas surrounding senior living. In reality, many senior living communities practice a resident-inspired approach with individualized care, excellent dining room menus and fun social programming like we do at The Kenwood. Here, your parents will have the opportunity to meet others, remain active and have access to assistance in a safe environment. Do your best to highlight these positives when talking to your loved ones.
In the end, it’s up to them to decide whether or not transitioning into senior living is right for them. However, there’s no harm in being prepared to tackle this discussion whenever it may be time to!