In many cases, the thought of discussing a move to a senior living community with aging parents is unpleasant. Regardless of how beneficial or, in many cases, necessary that move may be, it is often met with anger and refusal by those who are being asked/encouraged to relocate.
It’s definitely a big event. Moving to a senior living community is a life-changing decision that, for most, is interpreted as giving up their freedom and comfort. The bottom line is, if all parties are not in agreement that it’s time to make the move then, yes, it will be challenging. However, there are some steps you can take and tips to consider that will make the conversation a bit easier.
Here are a few worth considering:
If you’re going to initiate a difficult conversation, be smart about when you have it. Find a time when all parties are in good spirits and relatively stress-free; you don’t want other distractions or concerns to carry over into this discussion about senior living communities.
Be sure to select a time when all involved are free. You don’t want to rush this conversation, so make sure you (and your aging parents or loved ones) can commit as much time as necessary to talking and planning.
Lastly, be sure that the conversation is not based solely off emotion and that you have a suggested plan in mind. Do some research beforehand and be prepared with answers to the questions or arguments you expect to receive. Remember, you don’t want this to come off as an attack, but rather the helpful next step for an aging loved one.
You know your heart is in the right place when you initiate this conversation with Mom and Dad, and that your decision about moving them to a senior living community is based on love. However, it is important to convince your loved one(s) of that. Remember, they feel differently about their situation than you do, and they don’t want to hear the message you are sharing. Also, remind yourself not to take anything that is said personally. Again, this is a difficult conversation to have and emotions will likely run rampant.
Maintain your patience, stay positive and on message, and thoroughly explain what led you to this conclusion. While it is important to mention any problems you have seen that played a role in reaching this conclusion, don’t focus on them. Instead, point out how a move to a senior living community will benefit your loved ones and be in their best interest.
Throughout the conversation, emphasize your love and respect, and assure them that they are not in this alone (they likely feel as if they are). Make sure they know that you will be there to support them throughout the transition, and also once they are getting situated in their new home and surroundings. Your loved ones will need you more than ever at this time, and it is important that they know you will be there for them – and keep your word.
As we mentioned earlier, do research and have a plan. Present your loved ones with multiple options and discuss the next step. Don’t leave the conversation open-ended.
Agree on what you will all do next and when you will do it. That should include selecting a few senior living communities that you will visit together, along with agreeing to dates and times that will work for all involved. Determine who will call the communities to schedule meetings and tours, and record any concerns that must be addressed by additional parties.
Lourdes Noreen McKeen in West Palm Beach is a full-service community offering residents a lifestyle of ease, comfort and security.
Our staff understands that every person’s situation is different and unique, which is why we offer three different levels of care: Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing/Rehabilitation. We have been serving seniors in West Palm Beach since 1960, and would like to welcome you and your loved ones to our senior living community.
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