Having “The Talk”: Starting the conversation with loved ones who are hesitant about making the move to senior living

Does this sound familiar? 

Mom or Dad is having increased difficulty with everyday tasks at home…but when the topic of moving to senior living comes up, they “aren’t ready yet.” This hesitation is actually a very common response–and, equipped with the right information, you can become a trusted guide as you navigate these often challenging conversations. In fact, many people who make the move to senior living ultimately say, “I wish I had done this sooner!”

As their trusted advisor, you have the opportunity to lead your family member through the process of making the move by following some simple guidelines that will not only help them make the right decision, but can help protect your relationship in the process.

Don’t wait until a crisis happens to begin the conversation; being proactive allows your loved one to be involved in the process. Many seniors see moving as a daunting task that forces them to give up their independence–but that simply isn’t the case! Independent living, assisted living, and personal care residences actually encourage independence as long as possible to help give seniors the best quality of life. With activity and exercise programming, social engagements, transportation to and from appointments, medication management, and assistance with activities of daily living, senior living communities offer seniors the vibrant lifestyle they want while getting the care they need. Offering to tour different communities together can lower seniors’ anxiety, and it allows them to talk with other residents about their experience firsthand.

Listen to your loved one’s concerns and hesitations and validate their feelings. Many times, older adults picture a nursing home when they think of senior living, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Moving to senior living doesn’t have to mean giving up their independence. By listening to these concerns, validating them, and inviting them to research different levels of care with you can help eliminate some myths about senior living that simply aren’t true. There are many levels of care based on the needs of the individual resident–from minimal assistance (independent living) to communities that offer help with daily living (assisted living and personal care).

Involve trusted medical professionals in the decision-making process. Even though you have done your research when it comes to choosing a senior living community, your family member may still be hesitant to make a decision based on your information alone. Medical professionals can be your ally when it comes to influencing a loved one to move to senior living, especially if there is a medical condition or diagnosis involved. Talking with the medical practitioner ahead of a scheduled appointment allows the topic to come up naturally– and could make all the difference when it comes to encouraging your loved one to make the move to senior living. 

Starting the conversation with family members about senior living can be overwhelming to think about, but you are never alone in the process. Communicating early before a crisis forces your decision as well as validating their concerns will go a long way in helping Mom or Dad get comfortable with the decision to move to senior living.     

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