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Planning To Have A Conversation About Senior Living?

How To Discuss A Positive Plan FOR THE FUTURE.

Why does it feel so difficult to talk to an aging parent or family member about getting older, plans for the future, needing help and where to live? It doesn’t have to feel that way. 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.

senior couple hugging and holding a cup of coffee

Navigate The Next Steps With Your Parent or Loved One

  1. Write down any concerns you have for your parent or family member. For example, you may be worried about their ability to keep track of medications or keep up with chores around the house. Make a list of everything that concerns you but don’t start putting together a plan on your own. Instead, prepare to guide the conversation with questions that allow them to express their thoughts, concerns and plans.
  2. Plan a time to talk and make them aware of your concerns ahead of time so they can start to think about their perspective without feeling blindsided by the conversation. Communicate with any siblings or family members about your planned discussion so they’ll feel included even if they won’t be present.
  3. Educate yourself on different options in senior living. You’ll find a range of options all of which include different types of senior care services – everything from independent living and in-home care to assisted living and continuing care. If you’re realistic about the amount of help your loved one truly needs, you’ll ensure they end up with the proper level of 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. Ask questions and focus on language that is clear, supportive, non-confrontational and in line with your concerns for your parent. Keep your demeanor respectful and empathetic, emphasizing how much you care about their ideas for their future. Use direct language such as:
    “Where would you want to live if you ever decided you would rather not live by yourself anymore?” “What types of things could you use help with?”
    “Have you thought about whether you’d like to be around other people your age in a retirement community?”
  6. Listen closely to their responses before offering your opinion or advice. If the conversation gets overly emotional or intense, take a break and pick it up at another time. Remember to use open body language – no crossed arms or hunched shoulders.
  7. Keep talking. Even though it would be nice to come up with a solution in one conversation, this process may take some time. As long as they aren’t facing an emergent health issue or major safety risk, you and your loved one should take the time to make a plan that feels as comfortable as possible for you both.

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 The Crossings at Riverchase and how we can be a comfortable, convenient option for your loved one’s retirement needs.