5 Tips for Talking to Your Parents about Moving to Senior Living
1. Don’t delay
As much as you may be dreading the conversation, it’s a whole lot better to start talking now than to wait and wish you had. If you suspect your parent is starting to struggle with some daily activities, don’t put it off. Each year, one in four adults over age 65 fall, but less than half tell their doctor—and delaying the senior living talk can increase the risk that your loved one will be among them.
2. Do some research
First, take the time to observe your parents at home and in their daily activities so you have a true understanding of their challenges. Then explore the specific senior living options available and how to pay for them so you can offer some informed guidance on a logical next step. These online resources from the National Center for Assisted Living are a great starting point.
3. Ask questions
Remember this is a conversation, which means talking and listening. Ask what tasks around the home they might be having trouble with. Ask what worries them the most. Ask where they want to live. And then listen to the answers. The American Association of Retired Persons recommends using statements that start with “I” rather than “You” to avoid putting loved ones on the defensive: “I am concerned about you taking your medications on schedule” or “I wonder if you need help preparing some meals” sounds a whole lot better than “You need someone to give you your medicine and cook for you.”
4. Be prepared for pushback
There’s a good chance your parents won’t want to move—and if so, they’re in good company. About 77 percent of adults ages 50 and older say they want to stay in their homes long term, according to an AARP survey. While aging in place may be the answer for some, it’s a decision that requires careful consideration and safety precautions to reduce the likelihood of falls and other mishaps. If your family is considering aging in place, these tips from the National Institute on Aging can help make it safer to do so.
5. Check your tone
Remember: These are your parents you’re talking to, not your children. “You may be in a more supportive role now, but our parents will always be our parents,” AARP reminds us. “They will respond much better to a respectful, compassionate attitude.”
Contemplating the next chapter in your loved one’s story? Click here to learn more about Bickford Senior Living and to find a branch near you.