Bringing up senior living can be tricky. It’s no wonder many adult children put off the conversation, thinking, “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” But your parents’ care needs can change fast, so it’s smart to have a plan in place.
Start a dialogue on senior living early and casually, keeping an open mind. Having a plan about your parents’ future living arrangements will best prepare you for whatever might happen. But remember to listen to what they need, too.
With the holidays coming up, it’s important to remember these conversations as you’re spending time with family. Read on to learn more about how to broach the topic of moving to senior living.
6 Tips for Having the Conversation About Senior Living
Family dynamics and personalities will influence how the conversation unfolds. This guide can help anybody start the conversation with parents or loved ones, whether that someone is you, another family member, or even a friend.
- Bring up the topic intentionally.
Regardless of whether your loved one “needs” to transition to senior care, any opportunity to talk about senior living is a good one. Begin with a general approach, asking more detailed questions to better grasp your parent’s perspective as the conversation unfolds. It’s possible your loved one feels just as unsure of how to bring up the topic as you do. Starting with questions such as, “Have you thought about an active senior living community?” or “How about never doing chores again?” can show your parents what they have to gain from the move.
- Understand what your parents need.
It’s natural for seniors to worry about losing their independence, and conversations you have may revolve around this theme. Identifying your parents’ concerns and taking steps to alleviate them is part of selecting the right senior living community. Share with them that living in a maintenance-free community allows residents to be more independent and relaxed, giving them more time to do what they enjoy.
- Learn senior living terms.
The term senior living describes a range of options available to people over 55 years of age. The most comprehensive option, the Life Care Community, offers a forever home with access to necessary care services. Your parents might think senior living is like a nursing home, but today’s vibrant, active senior living is much more akin to living in a resort-like setting. At Canterbury Woods Williamsville, our community offers activities, services, amenities, events and a full continuum of care services. By leading with these facts and helping to demystify senior living, your parents will likely open up to the idea.
- Know that senior living is a lifestyle.
Transitioning to a community is many times perceived as a result of an incident, accident or decline in health. But this is often not the case. It’s possible for older adults, regardless of age, to move into a community anytime. In some cases, people move to be closer to family and friends, or for more socialization in life, or because they want to live a maintenance-free lifestyle.
- Stay open to ideas and keep a collaborative mindset.
Share your plans for having the conversation with all the family members and friends who are important to your parents. You can ensure the needs, wishes, and best interests of your loved ones are always considered when you receive input and support from others who care for them. You want to ensure that everyone important to your parents is aware that the subject is now on the table and open for discussion.
- Practice empathy and kindness.
Look at it from your parents’ perspective. The transition to senior living can seem overwhelming and unclear, so start small and gently. Take time to listen more than you speak, and identify your parents’ concerns and questions.
It’s possible that someone else in your family might be better suited to have this discussion with your parents. Some might prefer hearing the idea of moving to senior living first from a doctor, priest, or close friend instead of their child.
The tips discussed above will be helpful for anyone. As long as you keep your parents’ best interests at heart, the conversation should progress to a healthy solution everyone feels good about.
Explore Senior Living in Williamsville.
If you think your parents or loved ones might be ready for senior living in an active community, explore how to get started with independent living. We’re here as a resource for families and to answer any questions you may have.
Use our Financial Gauge to find out which senior living option is right for your parents or loved ones.