Starting the Conversation
Talking with your parents about senior living—specifically assisted living or memory care—can bring about some emotional responses. But talking about moving to a senior community is important—and it can be done with compassion, and in a way that makes sure everyone is heard. Unless your loved one experiences a health crisis and needs to find care immediately, you’ll likely have a series of conversations over time. This not only eases your parent into the idea of moving to a new home, but it also makes them a key participant in the process.
Here are a few ways you can start talking with your parents about senior living in an assisted living or memory care community.
1. Do Your Research.
Before you start, research senior living options so you can answer your loved one’s questions. You’ll want to know information such as:
- The differences among types of senior living communities (assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, continuing care retirement communities), and what health services they offer
- What your parent’s needs are and how a community can help them live more independently
- How the convenient services and amenities at the community can help make life easier and even more fulfilling
- Financial options and how they play into future healthcare needs
- The types of services the community offers, such as housekeeping, maintenance, dining, daily living support, life-enrichment programs, and transportation
You’ll also want to consider whether you’d like to visit a few communities beforehand to better understand what’s available or you’d prefer your parent visit with you to see for themselves.
2. Be Prepared.
Gather your thoughts, do your research, and create a list of topics you want to discuss. These can include struggles or health changes you’ve noticed, tasks and chores they need help with, and the advantages of senior care. This will help streamline the discussion and make sure you cover all the things that are important to your loved one and their quality of life.
3. Ease into the Conversation.
Your parent may not be initially receptive to the idea of leaving the home they know, but they may be even less willing to have the conversation if they aren’t expecting it. Start by asking some general questions to help gauge their openness, such as:
- When was the last time you talked with your friends? Are you feeling lonely?
- How are you feeling about living at home right now? Do you feel safe? What are you having trouble taking care of?
- Have you been to the doctor lately? Are there any changes in your health?
- How do you feel about driving? Have you had any accidents recently? When was the last time you took the car in for maintenance?
- Would you feel less stress if you didn’t have to worry about things like caring for the house; keeping up with bills; or needing someone to help you with chores, errands, or food prep?
Asking questions is one of the best ways to encourage them to discuss their feelings and concerns. You may be surprised to learn they’ve already been thinking about moving to a senior living community!
4. Remember to Listen.
Patience is particularly important during a discussion like moving to a new home in an assisted living or memory care community. Your parent may be relieved that you brought up the subject, but they could also be upset. Don’t dismiss their concerns—try to get to the bottom of their resistance by listening and asking more questions. And don’t expect them to give you an immediate answer—they may need a little time to weigh this important decision.
We Can Help
When you’re considering assisted living or memory care for your loved one, it can be helpful to turn to experienced professionals for help. There’s a lot to learn, and you can’t be expected to become an expert. Our door is open to you and your loved one. If you have any questions, feel free to bring them to us. At Springpoint Living at Manalapan, we’re here to help.