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How to Jumpstart the Senior Living Conversation

Talk to your parents about a positive plan for the future.

Learn the next steps to take.

Adult children are often faced with the task of talking to an aging parent or family member about getting older, preparing for the future, needing assistance and leaving their home. It’s not easy but it’s an important conversation to have, before it becomes a necessity. Use these tips from Highpoint at Stonecrest to open the lines of communication and start a dialogue about plans for the future.

  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. Let any siblings and family members know about your planned discussion so they’ll feel included even if unable to be present.
  3. Learn about 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 realistic about the amount of help your loved one truly needs — above all, you want them to have the proper level of care.
  4. Talk to your loved one in person, not by telephone if possible, and find a time when you are both well-rested and able to talk without interruption. It could be helpful to go to a neutral site outside of their home or to bring in someone close to the family, such as an attorney, physician, minister or friend.
  5. Use questions with supportive, non-confrontational language while making clear your concerns for your parent. Let them know you care about their well-being and their ideas for the future.

Sample questions:

“Where would you want to live if you ever decided you would rather not live by yourself anymore?” “How can we protect you from taking a bad fall?”
“How has it been for you living at home alone? Have you thought about whether you’d like to be around other people your age in a retirement community?”

  1. Listen closely to their responses and assure them that you are their partner in addressing certain needs or issues in their life. Make sure you are hearing their complete answer before offering your opinion or advice. If the conversation gets heated or overly emotional, stop and pick it up at a later time.
  2. Continue the conversation. Even though it would be nice to wrap things up in one conversation, this process may take some time. Your loved one will appreciate you taking the time needed to develop a mutually agreeable plan – except of course if there is an emergent health issue or safety risk to address at their home.

Having the conversation may not be easy, but it should take place sooner rather than later so you’ll both have a clear understanding your parent’s hopes and desires for aging. Contact us if you have additional questions or would like more information about Highpoint at Stonecrest.