Talking to Your Parents About Senior Living
How to start the conversation
Telling your aging parent that it’s time for a different living solution is never easy.
For most seniors, losing their independence is something they dread, so the thought of moving into a new community can be very unsettling. Putting off the conversation will only exacerbate the fear and anxiety for both you and your parents, but with a little planning and fortitude you can help ensure a positive outcome.
- Talk to your parent(s) about options as early as possible—before the situation becomes urgent. That way you can spend more time exploring different solutions, and your parent will be able to more fully participate in the process.
- Know the options and the benefits of each one. Moving into an Assisted Living Facility is just one option, but there are many others. Depending on the level of independence and care your parent desires and needs, there may be home care solutions or other senior living communities that may be a better fit. Learn more about the various options. Your Assisted Living Locators Care Advisor can help.
- Address your concerns about their current situation openly and completely. Be realistic – and help them be as well – about their health care needs and safety and the potential needs they may have in the near future. Be candid about the impact their care may be having on you, and emphasize your overwhelming concern for their well-being. Now is not the time to dance around delicate topics. Being honest and upfront is the best approach, but make sure you do it with a tone of empathy and respect.
- Listen carefully to their fears and objections. It’s best to have an initial conversation to get the ball rolling, then take a few days to digest their initial reaction and comments before continuing on. This also shows them that they are being heard and honored, and will have a role in the process.
- Find out what’s most important to them. Perhaps they are concerned about leaving their friends behind, or being forced into a routine that they don’t like. Understanding these issues can help you address them upfront, and find a solution that will provide them with the care they need along with the lifestyle they want to be happy and fulfilled.
- Be prepared to talk about finances. Part of the fear of losing independence is the concern about losing control of their finances. Have a realistic assessment of their financial situation, along with ballpark costs, and financial benefits they may be able to utilize (e.g. VA) ready to discuss. Consider the potential “what if” scenarios that may arise, and how they may each impact your long-term financial situation.
- Take a positive approach and tone. Your parent will be more likely to embrace change if it’s presented in the most positive and caring light. Humor can help lighten the situation, but it’s important not to let the conversation become too light hearted or trite. After all, this is one of the most important decisions of their life, and the decision that you make together will make all the difference in the quality of their remaining years