Talking with Aging Parents About Senior Living Communities

Your parents may insist that the home they live in now is the only place they’ll ever live. If it’s the house where you grew up, you may have your own special memories there.

But you may be noticing that taking care of the house seems to be getting harder for them. On top of that, you may feel unsure about how to talk about your concerns.

Many seniors are afraid that moving would mean a loss of independence. For others, it feels like an admission of failure or an unpleasant reminder of one’s mortality. 

The good news is that senior living communities offer many benefits that enhance quality of life. The key to a smooth transition is to explore the different options available, start the conversation early and lead with empathy.

Educate Yourself About Senior Living Options

There are many different types of senior living communities. Which one is best depends on your loved one’s care requirements and independence with daily living. Other considerations include repair and maintenance needs, safety and security features and desired amenities.

Independent living communities are ideal for active seniors who can still live on their own. Residents have their own stylish apartments, along with a plethora of engaging activities and helpful services:  

  • Abundant opportunities for making new friends, getting plenty of exercise and learning new things 
  • Onsite restaurants that serve a variety of meals, from healthy entrees and veggies to casual fare like pizza and sandwiches
  • No more worrying about maintenance, repairs or cutting the grass 
  • Regular transportation to stores, medical appointments and other locations 
  • Onsite services like a sundry shop, postal service and laundry

Depending on your loved one’s care needs, additional senior living options include assisted living and skilled nursing.

  • Assisted living provides help with activities of daily living, such as eating meals, getting dressed, taking a bath and using the restroom. Residents also enjoy opportunities for social interaction and intellectual stimulation. 
  • Skilled nursing, or a nursing home, is intended for individuals who need 24-hour medical care and monitoring on a long-term basis. Registered nurses and other health professionals are always onsite, and care is supervised by a licensed physician. 

Start the Conversation Early

All too often, seniors and their families don’t think about new living arrangements until a health crisis or injury occurs. Or they may wait until living alone becomes unsafe due to a risk of falling. 

There are many advantages to exploring new living arrangements before an emergency hits. First off, there will be more time to carefully research different options. Second, your parents may have more autonomy in choosing where to live if they do so while they’re still active and independent. Finally, it’s easier to make a big decision, like where to move, when your family isn’t also dealing with a stressful situation. 

A good conversation starter is to simply ask how things are going. Reassure your parents that you care about their well-being and are there to help.

  • Show an interest in their social life. Would they like to spend more time with people close to their own age?
  • Ask about household chores. Is taking care of the house becoming more stressful? Do they ever feel tired after vacuuming or mowing the lawn? 
  • Do they still enjoy driving, or is it becoming a hassle? 
  • Do they ever worry about falling? Have they experienced a fall? 
  • If your parents take any medications, ask how that’s going. Do they ever forget to take their medicine, or take the wrong dosage? 
  • How are they doing with their finances? Are they remembering to pay all of their bills on time? 

Lead with Empathy

Moving to a new place is a big decision that cannot be made in one conversation. Give your loved ones plenty of time and space to express their feelings and gather information.

Talk with them when everyone is relaxed and undistracted. Research different communities together. Ask lots of questions and talk to residents and staff about their experiences.  

Above all, remember that the final decision is your loved one’s to make and not yours. Never attempt to make decisions for someone who is still capable of making them independently. Your role is to listen, offer support and be ready with an informed opinion when appropriate. 

Are you looking for information about senior living options for yourself or a loved one? We encourage you to contact us at the Terrace Retirement Community or give us a call at 573-875-2538. 

 

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