Regardless of how close you and your parents are or how well you communicate with each other, some conversations are still hard. The senior living conversation is one of them. Many adult children feel so uncomfortable about the subject that they avoid it altogether. That’s why, all too often, decisions about senior living are made during a crisis which can not only limit your options but also cause even more stress during an already emotional time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Especially with these tips to make the senior living conversation easier.
While initially, it may seem better to wait to have the senior living conversation until your parent can’t deny the need for a move, it can actually create additional challenges and stress such as:
The senior living conversation is often referred to as ‘the talk’ but in reality, it shouldn’t be just one conversation. Rather, more of an ongoing discussion because realistically whether or not to move to senior living is too far-reaching and emotional to be decided at one time. This is another reason, in addition to the challenges we mentioned above, to talk to your parent before the need is dire.
One way to do so is to begin talking about the future in a way that shows your parent that you’re on their side and you want to listen, not make decisions for them. A good way to do this is by asking questions about their needs and wants such as:
You certainly don’t have to ask them all these questions at once, but by showing empathy and patience as they answer, you may find your parent is relieved to have the opportunity to share how they’re feeling!
As you begin the senior living conversation with your parent, it’s important to be mindful of how you communicate as well, not just in your tone but also in the message you’re trying to get across. Consider these communication tips to help:
If your parent is still hesitant about moving to senior living, planning a community tour can help. In addition, sign up to attend events, and/or have lunch with your parent there if possible. This allows you both to get a true feel for the environment, talk to residents, and get all your questions answered. It can often go a long way in convincing your parent to move!
For more information about the different senior living choices available for older adults, download our Senior Living Options Guide today!