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How To Jumpstart The ConversationAbout Senior Living

When it seems that the time is right to consider a move to a senior living community, starting the dialogue with a loved one or even with yourself might be the most difficult part. Why? Its human nature to be resistant to change – and many individuals in previous generations have strong feelings about staying in their own homes. It doesn’t have to be so difficult to talk about getting older, plans for the future, needing help and finding the best living option. Use these helpful tips to open the lines of communication and start having conversations about the future well in advance before it becomes a necessity.

Talk To Your Parents About A Positive Plan For The Future

  1. Make a list of your objectives for your parent or family member. For example, you may be hoping for a safer situation for them or help with keeping up with chores around the house. Write down everything that you’re looking for but don’t start putting together a plan on your own. Instead, get ready to guide the conversation by allowing them to express their perspective on future plans.
  2. Set up a time to talk and let them know about your concerns ahead of time so they can start to think about what they envision for the future. Feeling blindsided by the conversation could put them on the defensive. Let any siblings and family members know about your planned discussion so they are aware of it even if they aren’t able to be present.
  3. Research different options in senior living in your desired area. As you educate yourself, you’ll likely find a range of options from independent living and in-home care to assisted living and continuing care, all of which include different types of senior care services. Be honest about the amount of help your loved one truly needs – above all, you want them to have the proper care.
  4. Try to talk in person if possible, and choose a time when you are both well-rested and can talk without interruption. You might want to go to a neutral site outside of their home and could also consider involving an outside person close to the family, such as an attorney, physician, minister or friend.
  5. Use questions with supportive, non-confrontational language while making clear your concerns for your parent. Let them know you care about how they are doing, how they feel about their own aging and what they want the rest of their life to be like.

Sample questions:

“If you ever decided you would rather not live by yourself anymore, where would you want to live?”
“What types of things could you use help with?”
“How has it been for you living at home alone? Have you thought about whether you’d like to be around other people your age in a retirement community?”

  1. Soak in what they have to say rather than providing a solution. Reassure them that you are their partner in solving a particular need or issue in their life. Remember to use open body language – no crossed arms or hunched shoulders. Be patient and respectful – you can always pick up the conversation at a later time if it gets heated or overly emotional.
  2. Keep talking. Although it would be nice to wrap things up in one conversation, you will likely need to have multiple discussions. It’s best to address one issue at a time rather than trying to resolve everything at once – except of course if you have an emergent health issue or safety risk to address with your parent at home.

Learn The Next Steps To Take

By having this conversation before any serious incidents occur, you can be sure you clearly understand your parent’s hopes and desires for aging. Contact us if you have additional questions or would like more information about Park Creek.

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