Talking to parents about senior living options can be a trying and sometimes contentious undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to have the senior living conversation that can be productive and also show parents that their opinion matters. Not only can doing it right pave the way to a safer and healthier living option, but it can also build bridges between parents and children that can save rather than sabotage the relationship. Take these expert tips for a positive and constructive senior living conversation.
Tip #1 – Start early. Long before an elderly parent needs help at home, broach the subject of “what if” so that they can express their preferences and also have time to consider all the options. By planting the seed early on in retirement, it will make revisiting the subject easier when the need arises and give them the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings openly, rather than feel like the decision is already made. To know when it’s time to bring up the subject again, our blog, “When Is It the Right Time to Talk About Senior Living?” can help.
Tip #2 – Be honest. When approaching the senior living conversation be sure to share honestly not only your concerns about their needs but also how caregiving is affecting others. Start with a list of reasons why a parent shows a need for additional assistance like forgetfulness, poor nutrition, lack of adequate personal hygiene, or mobility issues.
Next itemize what caregivers are experiencing that may make a move a good idea. For example, maybe the caregiving family is moving out of town, or balancing home, career and caregiving has become overwhelming, or perhaps illness is making caregiving more difficult or impossible. In most cases, parents do not want to be a burden and when logical and truthful facts are presented calmly, a move to senior living will often appear to be the perfect solution. For more ways to make honesty the core of a senior living conversation check out our blog, “How to Talk about Senior Living with Your Aging Parents.”
Tip #3 – Be empathetic. Moving from a family home can be a frightening experience for parents who have their own fears, real and perceived about senior living. With that in mind the senior living conversation should be handled with empathy, allowing parents to explain their fears without the threat of criticism or condescension. Once these fears are known, it’s easier to counter them with facts that will not only eliminate the fear but add a level of comfort to the possibilities. Before having the senior conversation take a look at our blog, “Dispelling the Most Common Fears Seniors Have About Senior Living.”
Tip #4 – Compare costs. Another very real concern seniors have is that senior living is just too expensive. In reality, however, the costs are often very comparable. In our blog, “The Cost of Staying at Home Vs. Moving to Senior Living,” we look at how senior living and living at home really stack up. From making the home safe, to providing in-home care, to the health costs of isolation, the blog provides facts that can help during the senior living conversation.
Tip #5 – Describe how senior living has changed. In the past few decades, senior living has evolved from just “nursing homes” to vibrant communities where seniors remain independent while enjoying amenities like daily events and activities, classes and workshops, off-site trips, and chef-prepared meals that rival the best restaurants. This aspect should be a part of the senior living conversation to not only ease concerns but show parents how really great it can be! Take a look in our blog, “Senior Living Communities Today: Not What They Once Were!”
Tip # 6 – Schedule tours. There is no better way to assure parents that senior living communities are amazing places to live than to take tours of a few local options. When it’s time to have the senior living conversation, offering no-strings-attached tours is a sure-fire way to show them how upscale, clean, and private senior living is today, not to mention all the many amenities that are included in the package. To best prepare for senior living tours, our blog, “What to Look for and Questions to Ask When Touring Senior Living Communities,” is a great resource.
Having the senior living conversation can be one of the best ways to ensure parents are not only well cared for, but happy and healthy. To help smooth the way, download our Senior Living Options guide. Learn more about Thrive’s communities, housing choices and amenities by contacting us today!