How Can I Talk to My Elderly Parents About Senior Living Options?
One of the most daunting tasks anyone will have to face is the conversation about helping your aging parents transition into full-time senior living arrangements. Often, aging adults struggle to recognize when they need help and believe they can continue caring for themselves, as they have done all their lives. Helping them understand that they need more support from a community, assistance with physical tasks that have become too difficult to manage on their own, and often medical care and administration of medications they may be forgetting to take regularly, is a challenging argument to present. These difficulties for the aging adult are easy to see from the outside, but often the aging parent struggles to acknowledge where they need help.
The process of transitioning from life as they had known it to life in a nursing home, or senior living arrangement, is certainly not an easy one for anyone involved. If your parent or another elderly loved one is facing the difficult process of transitioning to life in a senior living facility, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that the conversation is a dignified, productive one.
Don’t Put It Off
One of the most important aspects of talking to your loved ones about senior living options is to simply not put the conversation off too long. It’s easy to put difficult conversations off but delaying this one can often lead to making things worse than they need to be. If you wait too long to talk to your elderly parents about their senior living options, you may find that they are no longer capable of being an active participant in the conversation.
Start Slow & Give Them Time to Process
The idea of changing where they live, and how they live, may come as a shock to your aging parent. Start by presenting the idea slowly, and without pressure to make an immediate decision to give your elderly parent time to process the idea. When they encounter challenges or medical issues, try gently reminding them how it may be time to move to a location where they can get the support they need. Changing their entire life is not an idea that is easily accepted and they may have some misconstrued ideas about what retirement living is going to look like for them. Spend time researching their options, so you can explain what they will experience accurately. Perhaps suggest a no-pressure visit to a retirement living community, like The Cedars Retirement Community in Indiana, that has independent living options & the ability to transition to full-time care, should they need that support.
Have the Conversation in Person
We live in a technological age, and our communications with other people are certainly proof of that. Thanks to advances in the communication and tech industries, it’s simple to have quick conversations with people through text messages or video chats, even if the other person is thousands of miles away. However, there are still times where having a conversation in person is the right way to go.
The process of talking to your elderly parents about retirement living may be one such example. Instead of texting or even video chatting during this conversation, make sure that you’ve blocked out some time for you and your parents to sit down and have the conversation. This may mean needing to travel to where they are, but it is important to show them you care enough about their future to make time & sacrifices to find what is best for them. They will be giving up a kind of independence they've had their entire lives - it is important to acknowledge how hard the transition may be for them to embrace and accept by making sure to be present when talking about their options.
Talk Less, Listen More
When you were a child, your parents may have told you about the importance of listening more than you talk. Whenever you are discussing someone else's future, it is important to hear their concerns and desires. Be sure that the conversation that you’re having with your aging parents involves plenty of active listening. They will undoubtedly have an extensive list of questions and concerns, and it’s vital that you listen so you can answer those questions to the best of your ability. Make sure that the conversation isn’t all about you being heard. Instead, use it as an opportunity to better understand your parents and what they are feeling and wanting. Don't dismiss what they are feeling, but listen with an open mind and heart, and consider ways to help them process and address their concerns and fears.
While no one wants to face the harsh reality that comes with being the child of an aging parent, it’s simply a natural part of life. Understanding how to have the difficult conversation concerning senior living options with your parent is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your family are ready to enter the next chapter of your lives. As you consider what is best for your loved ones, The Cedars Retirement Community is here to support you. With options ranging from Independent Living to our top-quality nursing home, we're here to help you and your loved one navigate this changing season.
The Cedars Retirement Community
The Cedars Retirement Community is a beautiful lakeside retirement residence located just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Cedars Retirement Community offers a full calendar of gathering times, hands-on activities, and fun events. Located just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana, The Cedars believes in providing the highest quality of life and opportunity for seniors. We want to ensure that the latter years are lived with joy, enthusiasm, and relational connections. Please contact us with any questions or to schedule a tour of our beautiful lakeside retirement community.