As your loved ones grow older, you might start to notice them struggling with day-to-day tasks: navigating stairs, cleaning their home, driving; tasks that were routine that are becoming more difficult.
From there, it could progress – maybe their hygiene is suffering, or their diet is getting worse as cooking becomes more difficult for them.
It could even become dangerous – they become unsteady on their feet, get confused by their surroundings or even sustain a fall that might cause an injury.
Whether it’s day-to-day tasks or a safety concern, there might come a time when you realize your parent or loved one needs extra care, and that a move to a senior living community might help them live life to the fullest.
The question is, how do you approach that topic with them?
The conversation with your loved one about moving from their home into a senior living community can be emotional and fraught. Many seniors might associate senior living with a loss of independence, or they could be unwilling to acknowledge the struggles they’re having.
It’s often an uncomfortable conversation for everyone involved, however, it’s better to have it before a serious accident than after. In this blog, we want to offer some tips and advice on handling such a sensitive topic.
How To Start The Conversation
The topic of senior living isn’t one you just casually bring up. You need to be well versed in why you feel the way you do, and why senior living could be beneficial for your loved one. It’s vital to have the conversation somewhere quiet and private – in their home or yours for instance. Doing so in public in a noisy restaurant is not conducive to a productive talk.
You should also make sure any siblings or other family members involved in the decision are aware of the conversation and are on board. It’s best not to have the conversation until every key member of the family involved in the decision is on the same page.
Having said that, the intent isn’t to “gang up” on your loved one, but instead reassure them that for their own comfort and safety, senior living provides all the amenities and care options they need to live a productive, fulfilling life. There’s also an active social life waiting for them, with fellow residents always eager to meet new people.
It’s important to have done your research in advance to be able to address concerns and come into the conversation prepared.
Make Sure It’s a Conversation, Not a Monologue
If your loved one is taken by surprise, anger or hurt feelings are a possibility. Many seniors associate assisted living with a loss of independence, and it can be very difficult to ponder the idea that they might lose that - make sure you acknowledge and listen to any concerns your loved one has.
It’s entirely possible that the decision won’t be made over the course of one conversation, it requires a lot of thought and consideration. If your loved is upset by the conversation, then by all means allow them time and space to process their feelings. However, if you are concerned about their safety and their ability to care for themselves at home, those concerns don’t go away. Even if your loved one needs time, gently follow up with them and find out how they’re feeling.
And if you’re a senior concerned about independence, Prestige can actually help in that regard. Perhaps you’ve had to give up driving due to health or vision deterioration. With Prestige you have access to a bus you can book yourself to help take you shopping or to appointments. From a dining standpoint, buying groceries, cooking and clean-up are no longer a concern as you can enjoy restaurant-quality meals three times a day. And the social bonds you form with other residents help give you options for fun outings you may not be able to take right now.
The process needs to be collaborative, not ordered. To that end, the first step is often to book a tour so your loved one can get a first-hand idea of what life is like in a senior living community.
Bringing the Topic Up as a Senior
While often it’s a family member or a loved one who initiates the topic of senior living, in many cases seniors themselves are the ones who decide it’s time for assisted living and bring up the conversation with their families.
If you’re in that position, it’s important to be honest: if you’re concerned about your ability to care for yourself, if you’re finding day-to-day tasks to be more difficult, or if you’re in need of a more active social life, let your loved ones know why you’re feeling the way you are. They may not be aware of your feelings, and open dialogue can make the process easier.
Again, it can be a role reversal from what we outlined above – many adult children may struggle with the idea that their mother or father is having a difficult time with day-to-day tasks. They may be surprised and taken aback at the suggestion, but if you’re open and honest it helps your loved ones find common ground with you.
Prestige Can Help
Our team at Prestige understands the process of discussing senior living. When you schedule a tour with a Prestige community, our team takes the time to not just walk you through the building, but through the emotional process of considering such a transition as well.
We don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to senior living, we work with seniors and their families to understand their specific needs and desires, and how we can accommodate them.
If you’re ready to explore senior living, contact the community nearest you to schedule a tour.