For many adult children, talking with an aging parent about moving to senior living is one of the most difficult conversations they will ever have. Finding the courage to start the conversation can be a struggle. But delaying such an important discussion often means families aren’t prepared if or when a crisis occurs.
The holidays are a time when many families are reunited. It can provide you with a good opportunity for a face-to-face planning session with your senior loved one.
6 Tips for Talking About Senior Living with an Elder
Here are 6 tips to help you start the discussion for senior living options:
- First of Several Discussions: While many adult children head in to these conversations hoping to resolve the issue in one discussion, it generally doesn’t work that way. Accept that this is likely the first in a series of family meetings to plan for this transition. Unless you are in the middle of a crisis, it’s important to allow your loved one to move at their own pace.
- Do Your Research: Many families we’ve worked with tell us that spending time learning more about senior care before starting this discussion with a family member gave them confidence. Whether it is by exploring senior living websites or making in-person visits, it will likely help if you educate yourself before you sit down with your senior loved one.
- Document Your Thoughts: You will probably find it helpful if you take some time to get your thoughts down on paper. Include your fears, hopes, and concerns about your loved one’s current situation. Also make sure you include a reminder to yourself to let your family member know how important their safety and happiness are to you.
- Don’t Rush: One of the worst things your family can do is rush through this process and make all of the decisions for the senior. Unless they are mentally or physically unable to participate, plan this conversation for a day you can devote as much time as necessary to the discussion.
- Listen: In your desire to transition your loved one to a safe and positive environment, you might forget how important it is to listen. If you really listen and hear your family member’s fears and concerns, you will be more likely to help them find a resolution.
- Empathize: It also helps to attempt to put yourself in your older loved one’s shoes. How would you feel if your kids were forcing this conversation on you and you weren’t quite ready to hear it? Keep that thought in mind as you work your way through the search for a senior living community and the ensuing transition.
Learn the Senior Living Lingo
We know the terms and acronyms in senior living can be a bit bewildering. It’s the reason we created the Vitality Senior Living Glossary. You can download it to review as you begin your search for a senior living community for your older loved one.
You Don’t Have to Make the Transition Alone
If you’re currently in the process of exploring the options for your new chapter in life or for a senior loved one’s next step, we can help. The experts at Vitality Senior Living are available to answer your questions and help allay your concerns. Call us at (615) 538-3200 or contact us online.