How to Talk to Senior Parents About Senior Living

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Figuring out how to talk to parents about senior living can be a daunting task. When parents and their grown children begin to explore retirement living options, family members may experience a range of emotions.

However, a family working together can play a vital role in making a parent’s transition positive and comfortable one.

Communication is Key

No two families are alike. That’s why it’s important for families to speak openly about the prospect of retirement community living.

The basic foundation for a healthy discussion revolves around how to improve the quality of life for a parent or parents. Some families may resist a parent’s decision to move from their home because of emotional ties. Meanwhile, some parents may feel that making a move means giving up independence.

Families should address these common but important concerns and, at the same time, focus on how to create a brighter future.

Research as a Family

In the process of making a decision on a retirement community, everyone will have questions. What programs are important? What about safety. How’s the food?

Compiling a master list of questions for the decision-making process offers a great framework for research. Be sure to include questions about security, accommodations, social activities, health and fitness facilities and many others.

Make Your Visits Count

Once a family has compiled a list of possible venues, they should schedule times to visit. In each case, allow an appropriate amount of time for each visit to speak to staff and residents, tour a typical unit, and walk through the community. If possible, tour with a current resident to gain a more in-depth perspective.

Follow Up – Together

Once a decision has been made on a retirement community, families should approach the transition with enthusiasm.

Ideally, the experience of choosing a community together should eliminate many of the initial fears of making the move. And after a loved one has settled into the new community, family members should make every effort to become appropriately involved in activities – to the degree their loved one may want, of course.

In doing so, they can accomplish two important things. First, they can continue to learn more about this new phase of their loved one’s life. And second, they can confirm their loved one is flourishing in their new home.