How to Talk to Your Parents about Senior Living

How to Talk to Your Parents about Senior Living

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



You’ve seen your parent’s health decline. They may be struggling with daily activities on their own. The house is becoming too much to manage. You’re concerned about their safety living alone. Perhaps it’s a combination of all the above. Whatever the case, you know in your gut it’s time for the talk about senior living. This conversation is never easy to have, particularly if your parent feels everything is fine. We can help with these tips.

Fear for the Future

This is a time filled with emotions. For you, it can feel surreal as your parents age and the dynamic shifts from you as the child to caregiver and/or decision-maker.  For them, the future is often wrought with fear.

Some of the most common fears for seniors include:

  • Loss of independence
  • Declining health
  • Running out of money
  • Having to leave their home
  • Losing loved ones
  • Having to depend on others
  • Not being able to drive
  • Being isolated and lonely
  • Falling or becoming incapacitated

As you begin talking with your parent about senior living, take these fears to heart and show empathy and patience.

Preparing for the Talk

It’s important not to think of this as just one talk about senior living, rather a series of open conversations about the future. And ideally you and your parent should start these conversations before the need is dire. This way you have more time to understand their wishes, evaluate options and decide together on the best plan going forward. 

As you prepare to start the discussion, make sure to:

  • Write down talking points — Getting your thoughts down about why you believe it’s time for senior living can guide the discussion and help you remember important questions.
  • Contact family members — This includes any family who should be part of the discussion to get their input (even if they can’t be physically present).
  • Consult a professional — If you suspect there will be resistance to the idea of senior living, consider talking to their physician, a case manager, social worker, lawyer, financial advisor or even a therapist or spiritual leader. Input from a neutral party, particularly one your parent trusts and respects, can be really helpful.
  • Select time(s) to talk — This should be when you and your parent are free of distractions, pending appointments or to-dos to allow the discussions to go at their own pace.
  • Keep the tone casual and positive — Ask questions about your parent’s needs and wants for the future and their concerns.

Discussion Don’ts

  • Dictate a plan to your parent — To create an ongoing, honest discussion about their future they should be included in all aspects of the process.
  • Parent your parent — Share your concerns, but it’s important they feel respected and heard.
  • Feed the fear — Guide the conversation around those common fears, but in a way that gets you collaborating together to help them live their best life, not scaring them into a move.

Understanding the Gains

As you’re helping your parent understand why they need senior living, make sure to also help them understand what there is to look forward to, such as:

  • An environment that fosters independence — Perhaps even more so than at home with the right amount of support to help them live life to its fullest. 
  • A worry-free lifestyle — Senior living communities offer restaurant-style dining, housekeeping and laundry services along with spacious accommodations and amenities such as pools and fitness centers.
  • Abundant social opportunities — As well as opportunities to stay mentally and physically fit with monthly calendars filled with clubs, classes, events and outings.
  • Making their space their own — Senior living doesn’t mean they have to forgo their style and personality. Whether its favorite photos, knick knacks, books or tunes, we want you to personalize your space. 

Making the Move

Once your parent has agreed to move to senior living, it’s time to consider your options. And there are plenty of them! The first step is to identify the type of senior living that would support your parent’s needs best.

Types of Senior Living

  • Independent Living — Ideal for active seniors who require little daily assistance as onsite medical care is not typically available. 
  • Assisted Living — Provides housing; onsite care and support with daily activities such as bathing and dressing while helping residents maintain their independence. 
  • Memory Care — Designed to support those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with specifically trained staff and 24-hour supervision along with therapy, structured activities and programs.
  • Skilled Nursing  — Offers 24-hour supervised care and assistance with daily activities, a licensed physician or nurse on site, as well as physical, speech and occupational therapists..

While you can find stand-alone independent living, assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing communities, some senior living communities offer a full continuum of care all on one campus.

To help you ease the transition for your parent:

You can often arrange an in-home visit from the community. During the visit a staff member will get to know your parent, learn their needs, likes and desires and answer any questions you may have.

You can also visit the community often with your parent to have a meal, participate in activities and get to know the staff as well as your new neighbors.

For more information on how to talk with your parents about senior living as well as tips on choosing the right community, check out our Family Decision Guide!

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