How To Jumpstart The Senior Living Conversation
Begin Discussing A Plan For The Future
Many times, adult children are faced with the difficult task of talking to an aging parent or family member about getting older, plans for the future, needing help and where to live. Even if it seems uncomfortable, it’s an important conversation to begin well before an emergency situation or health scare occurs. Use these tips from Renaissance North Tampa to begin this important conversation before it becomes a necessity.
Start The Conversation With These Tips
- Make a list of concerns you have for your parent or family member. For example, you may be worried about their medication management or physical safety at home. Write down everything that concerns you. Resist the temptation to jump ahead and put together a plan on your own; instead, prepare to guide the conversation with questions that allow them to express their thoughts, concerns and plans.
- Plan a time to talk and make them aware of your concerns ahead of time so they can start to think about their perspective — and so they won’t feel blindsided by the conversation. Let any siblings and family members know about your planned discussion so they’ll feel included if they aren’t able to be present.
- Educate yourself on different options in senior living. As you research, you’ll 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 level of care.
- Sit down to talk in person, not by telephone if possible, and at a time when you are both well-rested and can talk without interruption. You may choose to go to a neutral site outside of their home or to involve an outside person close to the family, such as an attorney, physician, minister or friend.
- Ask questions and focus on language that is clear, supportive and non-confrontational. Keep a calm demeanor and emphasize how much you care about their ideas for their future. Use direct language such as:
“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?”
“Have you thought about whether you’d like to be around other people your age in a retirement community?”
- Hear what they have to say rather than provide 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. Remain patient and respectful — and if the conversation gets heated or overly emotional, you can always pick it up at a later time.
- Continue the conversation. Even though it would be nice to wrap things up in one conversation, this process may take some time. As long as you aren’t facing an emergent health issue or major safety risk, take the time needed to develop a mutually agreeable plan.
Starting these conversations may not be easy, but it can bring a smoother transition for everyone involved. The sooner you open up the lines of communication, the sooner you can understand your parent’s hopes and desires for aging and help them navigate their decision. Contact us if you have additional questions, would like more information about Renaissance North Tampa or if we can help be a further resource in the process.
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