4 Tactics for Discussing the Benefits of Senior Living with Parents
If you have aging parents, then you know that conversations about their health and well-being may be a challenge. When was the last time you talked to your elderly parent about going to their doctor for a check-up, or had to coax them into getting routine blood work done?
If you’re thinking that your parents might benefit from living in a senior community like Bristol Glen’s Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), the thought of this conversation with them might feel overwhelming! Commonly, aging parents can be more than a bit resistant when it comes time to discuss the possibility of senior living. However, for the benefit of their health, safety, and happiness, these conversations are important and absolutely worth having.
What should you do when you want to discuss senior living with your elderly parents and they just won’t listen?
- Observe and listen. You may think you know what your parents need, but there’s a chance that you might not be offering the right solution. Everyone wants what is best for their parents’ safety, but before you can offer your opinion on what that is, you need to fully understand their day-to-day struggles. Offering suggestions without listening to what they want will put parents off and make them even more resistant to change.
Instead, do your best to observe their day-to-day routine and note where their struggles occur. This way, your parents will appreciate the fact that you’ve taken an interest in their side of the story, and you’ll build trust.
- Recalculate the risk. It’s easy to immediately think of worst-case scenarios and to let yourself feel anxious, worried, and nervous about your aging parents. Instead of allowing your imagination to get the best of you, assess the current risks and have an honest discussion with your parents about available options. Perhaps a home health aide who visits a few hours a day is a better option, or perhaps your parents require around-the-clock care – it’s a decision you must make together.
- This is a process. As one of New Jersey’s premier senior living and care organizations, UMC associates talk to thousands of concerned children every year about how to approach these conversations. Don’t expect that it’s a “one and done” type deal. Often these conversations happen dozens of times and often the decision takes months of repeated conversations.
- Frame your suggestions carefully. It’s crucial to be sensitive when discussing senior living with your parents, and it’s necessary to look at it from their point of view. Their independence is important to them and your suggestions may be seen as a threat.
- Be honest. If you find the ideal CCRC for your parents, be aware that they may not share your enthusiasm. Discuss the positive aspects with them but also make it clear that you’re willing to discuss the details they find not-so-positive. Only highlighting the good may make them feel like you aren’t taking their concerns seriously.
Help them make the transition to senior living
We understand the difficulties people face when having discussions with their elderly parents about their health and their living circumstances. If you’re struggling to get through to your parent, we’ve created a helpful video entitled Having the conversation that offers some support and guidance. It can take some time for older adults to get over their initial fears, which commonly include loss of independence, a change of environment, and having their routines changed entirely.
If you feel it’s time for your parents to consider a CCRC or assisted living but they aren’t receptive to hearing what you have to say, it may be beneficial to involve a professional. Our staff is experienced in diplomatically discussing sensitive topics such as this.
Giving back to your parents in their older years is a privilege and we want to support you in your ongoing conversations about their safety, and wellbeing. If you need assistance having these difficult conversations, please call a UMC associate today.