Real Talk: Tough Conversations About Senior Living
August 30th, 2017 | For Family Members
Whether you’re considering a move to senior living for yourself or trying to broach the subject with a loved one, talking about future care is crucial — but that doesn’t make it easy. Here are some tips to make these discussions more productive and less nerve-racking.
Bring it up early, before it’s urgent.
Having those low-stakes conversations now can make the topic feel less daunting when you reach a situation that requires immediate action. It gives seniors a chance to make their wishes known and allows adult children to broach the topic without pressure to persuade anyone.
Open your ears.
Seniors want control over their own lives — and everyone wants to feel heard. Listen to your family’s needs, concerns, and fears. If Mom can’t go a day without gardening, you’ll want to find a residence with a robust horticulture program. If your adult daughter lives 2,000 miles away and works 60 hours per week, it may not be feasible for her to care directly for Dad. Recognizing everyone’s desires and limitations can help you choose the best path forward.
Focus on benefits.
People naturally become defensive when you point out what’s going wrong in their life. It’s also natural to wonder, “Hey, what’s in it for me?” Instead of focusing on why your parent needs help, steer the conversation toward how they can benefit from making a move to senior living. For lonely or socially isolated seniors, living near peers with plenty of activities makes a world of difference. For adult children, finding professional care for a loved one relieves a lot of worry.
Handle the guilt.
Seniors who need more help than they used to often feel guilty for burdening their adult children — no matter how happy they are to assist. Adult children routinely feel guilty for not doing more to help their parents — no matter how much time they spend caring for their parent. But the guilt doesn’t help anyone. No matter what your role is, remind yourself that you’re doing your best and it’s OK to ask for help when you need it.
Need More Help Deciding?
Legend Senior Living™ is here to help. Call us toll free 855-227-8966 to talk to a professional about what option is best for you and your loved one.