We all want what is right for our parents: To see them live life their fullest, safely and happily. As our parents age, it can be challenging to broach difficult conversations, including that it may not be safe to live home alone anymore.
The difficulty isn’t always knowing when you should be worried about your parents’ health, but instead knowing how and when to talk with your parents about a move towards senior living. While you can try to brush off your intuition and pretend there is no problem, which 75 percent of families do, this will only make the path ahead harder for your family. Here we lay out four tips to help you start a healthy conversation with your aging parent about senior living to set your family on track for success with minimal stress.
1. Do your homework.
Before you even broach the subject of senior living with your parents, prepare yourself through researching multiple options for senior care. This way, you’ll be able to come up with ideas for ideal care that your parents would be receptive to. This homework can include creating a list of concerns you have for your aging parents’ home environment, such as fall hazards, missed medications, and nutrient deficiency or an empty fridge. Then, explore senior care facilities that would alleviate your list of current concerns and manage these problem areas you’ve already identified.
2. Have a family meeting.
You’ve done your research and identified your concerns and ways to help your parents have a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. Now it’s time to start the conversation. Your parents will always see their children as their children, but now its your turn as an adult child to take care of your parents. The best way to have a beneficial dialogue is in person. If you live far apart, try to make the conversation as in person as possible by using Skype or other video-messaging tools. Make sure not to rush through the discussion; you have plenty of research and ideas but presenting them all at once can make your parents feel overwhelmed and unsure, causing them further undue stress. Most importantly, show you care through empathy and not sympathy. For your parents to consider the idea of moving to a senior living community, the best thing you can do is listen to their concerns and understand their apprehensions. After all, most parents don’t want their child to feel sorry for them – so don’t give them sympathy, show them empathy.
3. Involve a third party.
A third-party point of view is more valuable than many in this situation think. While the discussion of moving your parents to senior care is an extremely personal family matter, involving a trusted confidant of your parents in the process can provide further assurance that you as an adult child or your siblings and extended family truly care about your parents’ opinions and aren’t forcing anything upon them. Whether that trusted confidant is a doctor, a member of your parents’ faith community, or a good friend, including them in the conversation can take some of the pressure off your family and provides parents with a third-party opinion from someone they respect.
4. Don’t give up!
Plan to talk again. It can be a long process to convince and move your parents to a senior living community. Be patient and continue the conversation. Keep coming back to the ways your parent could thrive and have a better life by making the transition. When there may be a problem with the house, yard work, or even a snow storm, these are times to remind your parent of the stress-free life they could have at a senior living community.
In all, take your time and give your parents the time they need. The end goal is to successfully move your parents to a senior living community that fulfills their needs, interests, and sense of security. But to get there, you must have not just one, but many conversations with your parents. By following these tips, you’ll be able to continue the conversation and be with your parents while embarking on this journey of growth together.
At Jackson Creek Senior Living, a qualified representative can help you determine how to best talk to your parents about senior living. They can also give you concrete information about our community’s features, amenities and dining that may help entice your parents to visit and learn more. When your parents are ready, the representative will be on hand to meet with them in person and give them a full tour of our community. Give us a call at 719-725-6060 to get started.