Discussing Senior Living With a Loved One

January 21, 2014

There have been too many signs to ignore, and after countless conversations with family members it’s been decided to sit down and talk to Mom or Dad about considering a move to senior living. The question is: where do you begin? How do you tell a parent what to do?

It can be an emotional conversation, so we recommend you have it somewhere comfortable and private. The decision to have this conversation may have been made between many family members and friends, but that does not mean they should all be there for the discussion; this will just add to your loved one’s potential anxiety and resistance. We recommend having a few people there that they trust, mostly as a support system for you.

Also, prior to the conversation be sure to do your homework and look into one or two local senior living communities. Being able to discuss the benefits and features of a particular community will enable all those involved to imagine this as your loved one’s home and to better understand the benefits and features senior living offers.

When you’re ready to have the talk, be prepared to be met with an array of emotions. Their reaction may be one of shock, humiliation, resentment or it could be one of complete relief – every situation is different and if you approach it from a place of patience and understanding it will alleviate tension and frustration, on all sides.

Be sure to emphasize your reasons for wanting this.

  1. A Vibrant Social Life.  Despite everyone’s best efforts, it can be very isolating for seniors living on their own.  Communities are full of people with common interests and experience, and there are very active activities schedules to be a part of if desired.  Because they have their own private apartment, they can decide exactly how social they want to be.
  2. Safety.  Again, despite the presence of family and friends in the area, it can be nerve-wracking for seniors worried about what might happen if they fell or became ill.  Communities give residents as much privacy as they want, but there is always someone who can be right there should something happen.
  3. A Healthy Mind – Communities offer broad-reaching activities and excursions designed to entertain and challenge residents every day.  It’s great socially, and it helps everyone to keep growing intellectually and remain sharp!

You can expect that your loved one may experience a range of emotions, most of them revolving around uncertainty:

Fear of losing independence – The opposite is true! They’ll still have a home but will be freed of the burdens that come along with maintaining a single-family home.

  1. Fear of losing independence – The opposite is true! They’ll still have a home but will be freed of the burdens that come along with maintaining a single-family home.
  2. Fear of missing out on family events – Reassure them that you’ll visit often and take them off-site to attend family activities; you’ll still be a central part of their life.
  3. Fear of loneliness – Remind them that senior living communities are full of life and motion; there are fun activities and events to partake in, from book clubs to off-site trips. There are myriad opportunities to make meaningful relationships, and most residents do.

Never forget that you’re doing the right thing and for the right reasons.  You’re taking on a tough challenge that is rooted in love.  If you need help planning a conversation or your next move, you can also speak with the resident relations or sales expert at most communities;   they have a lot of experience helping people just like you.