Starting the Conversation: How to Talk to Your Parents About Senior Care

wepartnerwell News

It’s not always easy to talk to your parents about moving to a senior living community. Many older adults resist the idea, even when they already struggle to keep up with the chores of everyday life. Knowing how to talk about moving to a retirement home can make the conversation easier.

How to Talk to Parents about Assisted Living – Prepare for the conversation
Before you bring up the subject of assisted living, prepare for the conversation. Your preparation will help give you the confidence and credibility you need to be as helpful to your parents as possible.

Start by creating a list of concerns that you have for your aging parents – you may worry that their home is no longer a safe environment, for example, or that you notice that they are having trouble managing their medications. Ask other family members about their concerns, as they may have noticed that your parents were having problems that you were unaware of. Be as objective as possible, and be sure to write down these observations.

Educate yourself on the benefits of senior care options, such as assisted living. Look for ways that assisted living or other senior living communities can help address the issues that your parents may be experiencing. Learning about the benefits of senior living communities can help you find a good fit for your parents.

Start the conversation out right
In many cases, the hardest part of talking about senior care is how to initiate the discussion – bringing up the topic in the right way can make the rest of the conversation easier. Asking your parents some questions about their experiences may help get the ball rolling, and your parents’ answers may provide insight into their perspective. These conversation starters could include questions such as:

“Do you still feel safe living at home alone?”

“Do you have plans for long-term care if you suddenly got sick and couldn’t take care of yourself?

“Do you ever feel lonely living here? Would you prefer spending more time with people your age?”

“Could you use a hand with laundry and housekeeping?”

Tips for a better conversation
Once you have started the discussion, keep it moving in a positive direction. Here are a few tips and pointers for getting the most out of the conversation:

• Have the conversation as early as possible, before a health or safety crisis forces the discussion upon your family.
• Have a face-to-face conversation with your parents, if possible
• Initiate the conversation at a time and place in which you and your parents feel comfortable, calm and relaxed
• Take your time when expressing your concerns and ideas, and allow your parents time to think about the benefits of moving to a senior living community
• Listen closely to how your parents respond, and pay close attention to their concerns – acknowledge any apprehensions they may have and avoid minimizing your parents’ feelings
• Plan to talk about senior care several times over the course of days or weeks
• Visit the assisted living or senior care community, either in person or online, and invite your parents to come along; a short visit can give you and your parents an idea of the lifestyle, amenities and services, culture and type of neighbors they may have
• Remember: unless your parent is mentally incapacitated, moving to a senior care community is ultimately their decision

Knowing how to talk about moving to a retirement home can make the conversation with your parents and family much easier. For more information, consult with the professionals at King’sBridge.