Tips for Having the Senior Living Conversation with Your Older Parents

Choosing the best place to live as we age is an essential part of staying healthy, safe, and happy in retirement. Living in the family home can become more and more difficult with time, posing safety and health risks for seniors, especially those living alone. When a family notices a loved one needs more help than they can provide, it’s time to talk about what senior living has to offer. Before jumping into the sometimes-contentious senior living conversation, however, keep these tips in mind.

Tip #1 – Don’t wait until a move is necessary. Planting the seed about a future move to a senior living community can and should take place early on. Having the first senior living conversation before a move is necessary can help parents get used to the idea and even begin to make their own plan. This will provide everyone time to prepare for the time when life at home is no longer safe and a senior living community is the best option. As a senior needs more help or experiences any of the problems noted in our blog, “Is Senior Living the Right Decision?” the senior living conversation can resume with more urgency.

Tip #2 – Explain how senior living has changed. Before having the senior living conversation, take a look at senior living communities in the preferred area and note all they have to offer. Since many older adults recall the senior living homes their own parents or grandparents lived in, it is essential to explain how much senior living has changed in the past few decades.

For example, senior living today offers beautiful apartments in active and vibrant communities where there is always something fun to do and someone to do it with. Care is available so seniors get as much (or as little) as they desire and can increase or decrease accordingly. For more about what life in senior living communities has to offer, check out our blog, “It’s Your Time to Thrive! 5 Ways Senior Living Can Improve Your Retirement Years.

Tip #3 – Prepare a list of concerns. Another essential component of the senior living conversation is a list of genuine concerns. Sometimes it centers around physical safety, especially if a senior has taken a fall or otherwise become injured or has a chronic health condition. Other common concerns are with the senior’s ability to care for themselves, prepare their own meals, drive, or get the socialization they need. In other cases, memory problems may make living at home a situation where a loved one simply requires more specialized care than a family can provide. Showing true concern and empathy during the senior living conversation can help a parent understand how much peace of mind they and their family can gain from a move to senior living. For more about what to look for, our blog, “5 Signs It’s Time to Have ‘The Talk’ About Senior Living Options,” takes a deeper look.

Tip #4 – Listen to their concerns. One of the biggest mistakes a family can make when having the senior living conversation is to ignore a parent’s concerns. It’s easy to forget it’s their life you’re talking about and that they have and deserve the right to be included in the decision-making process. Instead, be open minded, take time to listen to them, ask them what they are concerned about, and try to counter their concerns with real-world answers based on fact, like those covered in our blog, “Dispelling the Most Common Fears Seniors Have About Senior Living.

Tip #5 – Propose a tour or “Staycation”. One of the best ways to introduce a parent to what today’s senior living has to offer is to schedule a tour or better yet, a “Staycation.” When having the senior living conversation, suggesting either or both is a way to give parents options with no strings attached so they don’t feel they are being pushed into a corner. A tour can include not only a walk around the community but also a meal in the dining room where they can taste for themselves what is in store. A Staycation at Thrive is another great way to experience all our communities have to offer and is especially perfect when families need a break from caregiving or for post-hospital recovery from an illness or injury.

Having a successful senior living conversation with parents requires a calm and knowledgeable demeanor, as well as plenty of love and caring. At Thrive our team members are experts and can help answer questions and eliminate many concerns and fears. To learn more about Thrive Senior Living housing options, amenities, and levels of care contact us today. For more about choosing the right senior living community, download our Family Decision Guide.

Thrive Family Decision Toolkit Guide