Having a conversation with your loved one about the possibility of transitioning to a senior living community can be a difficult one. While we can’t predict how they will react or contribute to the conversation, we hope these thoughts will help you feel better about the process. We understand that everyone has different needs and ideas of what their future looks like. Below are a few steps you can take to make the conversation a meaningful one.
Know that when you discuss senior living, it might not go as planned the first time, the second time, or even the third time. It is important that you are patient with your loved one and understand that this process might require baby steps and nurturing along the way. Do your best to not get frustrated or upset if the conversations veer off on a tangent; part of being patient is recognizing that they too need to be ready for the conversation. If you’re not sure how to ease into the topic, try asking open-ended questions about how they picture their future, what their health or personal struggles are, or what scares them. Don’t be pushy or demanding, patience is a virtue.
While it is easy to feel guilty about the thought of moving a family member or loved one to a senior community, it is important to do your best to let go of those thoughts or feelings and focus on the positives. Though it may seem very difficult, making a decision that is in your personal best interest, as well as your loved one, is one of the most loving things you can do for them.
Because they know you so well, your loved one will be especially in tune with your emotions and may be able to easily pick up on feelings of guilt or anxiety. Remaining optimistic and positive will not only help you during this challenging time, but it will help those around you as well.
Do your best to focus on the positive aspects; you will have peace of mind knowing your loved one is living in a safe community, being properly cared for according to medical needs, are maintaining a healthy diet and proper hygiene, and are in an encouraging and friendly atmosphere.
Have Regular Conversations
Bringing up the topic gently and regularly can help ensure that this discussion never comes as a surprise or feels like an ambush. If you talk about the topic regularly, you are able to open conversation to discuss thoughts, concerns, and plans for the future over time. Talk with those who will be part of these discussions to decide what questions you’d like to ask, and what each of your concerns are so you’re on the same page going into the conversation. Don’t bring up the topic out of the blue, or in times of stress or turmoil. Talk about the future in a relaxed and familiar setting so that no one feels uncomfortable or out of their element.
Let Them Know You’re Not Going Anywhere
Assuring the line of communication between you and your loved one remains open and clear helps them know that you are committed to being happy and healthy. As you discuss the future, it is essential that you are clear that you are advocating for health, safety, and well-being. Assuring your loved one that you will still see them and be involved with their life and health may help them feel better about transitioning to a new space. Along the way, discuss any feelings of grief, stress, vulnerability, loss, excitement, and being overwhelmed. Try not to down-play this discussion, and remind them about how much you love and care for them.
It is important that you work together with your loved one and approach the conversation reiterating that you have their best interest as a priority. Do your best to keep an open mind and speak in a way that is gentle, but direct. When you’re ready to begin looking at care options, contact our Senior Care Advisor.