Of all the important conversations you and your parents will have over the years, one of the most difficult to begin may be “the talk” about senior living. How will mom react? Has dad been thinking the same thing? Is mom willing to move from the comfort of home to a large, unfamiliar community? Will they take your concerns to heart? There’s only one way to know, but it’s important you keep some dos and don’ts in mind. And learn how boutique senior living can make the transition easier for you both.
How to Have “The Talk” with Senior Parents
First of all, this really shouldn’t be one talk. Rather, a decision this big and emotional should take place over multiple conversations. Ideally before the need is urgent so you can take the time to understand where everyone is coming from, evaluate options and decide the best path forward together.
Get your thoughts down – Put your concerns in writing to not only help guide the discussion about why you believe it’s time for this move but also to help you remember all your talking points should the conversations get heated or emotional.
Get the family involved — This shouldn’t fall just on your shoulders, include other family members to be part of these conversations so they can provide input. If they can’t be there physically, video chat works too!
Enlist professional help— It’s not uncommon for there to be resistance to the idea. Just in case, you may want to talk to your parent’s physician, social worker, lawyer, financial advisor and/or therapist or spiritual advisor for input from a neutral party. Even better if it’s someone they trust and respect.
Consider the best time(s) — These conversations shouldn’t take place when you’re rushed so make sure to set a time(s) when everyone is as free of distractions as possible to allow for a natural flow. You’ll have a more thoughtful and productive outcome this way.
Keep it positive — Rarely does anything positive come from negativity so you parent shouldn’t feel ganged up on or that you think they can’t take care of themselves. Rather, ask questions about their needs and wants for the future such as:
- How can we help you stay independent?
- Would it be helpful if you didn’t have to cook?
- Do you still enjoy driving?
- Do you have enough opportunity to get out of the house and have fun?
- How do you feel about managing the house and yard?
Dictate a plan — How well did it work when your parents did this to you? They are an adult, and still your parent, so they should be included in all aspects of the decision-making process. After all, it is their future.
Parent your parent —Yes, the dynamic may have shifted from you as the child to the caregiver, but it’s crucial your parent still feels respected and heard. In doing so, they’ll be much more open with you about their true feelings.
Use fear tactics — That’s not to say don’t share your concerns. But in a way that encourages collaboration as a family on how best to support your parent, not scaring them into a move.
The Benefits of Boutique Senior Living
Often, the biggest hesitancies around moving to senior living is the crowded, uninviting and institutional feel of traditional communities. It’s too much of a stark transition to home, we get it. But there is an alternative: residential care that’s provided in a single-family home! Otherwise known as boutique senior living it blends the comfort of home with the quality care and amenities of large, traditional communities.
For example, our boutique senior living homes are specially crafted for assisted living or memory care with 10 to 16 residents max and a nearly unheard of 1 to 5 caregiver to resident ratio. So not only will your parent will have the personalized attention, active lifestyle and amenities they deserve, but they’ll enjoy it in a home environment that still feels comfortable and familiar.
And when we say familiar, we mean it – from the décor to the large yard and even meals served family-style on one of our signature homemade farm tables. Not to mention the charming, neighborhood location in a Midwestern town much like your parent may live in now.
It all makes for an easier transition because the benefits of boutique senior living make the move much more appealing for your parent while giving you peace of mind in starting the conversation.