Tips on talking with your loved one about senior living in the new year
Most of us think about New Year’s resolutions as goals we want to accomplish or ways to improve life for ourselves. But why limit them? If you think your loved one would benefit from senior living, but have been putting off talking to them about it, now may be the time. We can help you decide about senior living for your loved one with these tips to make the conversation easier.
Reflect on the situation
Before you jumping into the conversation itself, take some time to reflect on why you think it’s time for your loved one to consider senior living:
- Has there been a health scare?
- Are chronic conditions worsening and/or is their health deteriorating in general?
- Are they having cognitive challenges?
- Are there mobility challenges?
- Do you feel it’s no longer safe for your loved one to drive?
- Is your loved one having trouble performing daily activities independently?
- Do you worry about your loved one’s ability to maintain the house and the yard?
- Are there safety concerns in the home or do worry about them living alone?
- Do you feel your loved one would benefit from more social opportunities?
- Would you like to see your loved one more active and engaged in things they enjoy?
- Not only can your answers help you narrow down what type of senior living might be best, it can help you then identify specific benefits to note when talking with your loved one.
Consider These Communication Do's
In talking with your loved one about senior living, often the key is in your approach.
- Do Know What You Want to Say – Having talking points in hand during the conversation can be extremely helpful in not only ensuring you discuss everything you want to, but also to keep you focused in case the conversation becomes heated or emotional.
- Do Take Aging Fears to Heart – Aging sparks a number of fears such as loss of independence, poor health, being isolated and lonely, losing loved ones and running out of money. And having to leave home is often seen as the tipping point. By approaching the conversation with empathy and patience your loved one is likely to be less defensive.
- Do Keep It Positive – This is where your reflection and research earlier really come into play because you can focus the discussion around the benefits of senior living and what your loved one can look forward to, such as:
Carefree lifestyle with cooking, cleaning and home upkeep taken care of so they have more time to enjoy the range of amenities as well as social and enrichment opportunities.
All the perks of independent living, but also the peace of mind that they’ll have support with daily tasks such as bathing and dressing should they need it, not to mention staff is onsite 24/7.
Designed exclusively for those who have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with specially-trained staff, 24-hour support as well as therapy, activities and a secure, calming environment that can help them thrive.
Consider these communication do's
There are also some sure-fire ways to derail the conversation about senior living with your loved one.
- Don’t Dictate – You and your loved one are on the same side and you certainly don’t want to come off differently during the conversation. So, make sure you’re collaborative and include them in the decision-making process; this is their future after all! Otherwise, they may be much more resistant to the idea of senior living altogether if they feel pushed.
- Don’t Parent Them – Yes, it may feel like your roles are starting to shift and you should certainly be honest about your concerns, but in a way that respects them as your parent. They need to feel heard or they’ll not only be less likely to open up with you, it could also strain your relationship.
- Don’t Use Scare Tactics – The goal is to for your loved one to see how much senior living could benefit them, not to scare them into making a move. Remember, they likely already have a number of fears about aging and feeding into that will only make them feel worse. Instead, offer perspective on how senior living might be a way to ease those fears.
How to decide about senior living
Ideally, this won’t be just one conversation rather an opportunity to create an open, ongoing dialogue about what your loved one wants and needs in the future. That’s why it’s never too soon to start the conversation and how you’ll truly find the best fit for your loved one!