We all love our independence and freedom, and this is one of the reasons why conversations about moving from living independently to a type of senior living facility get so emotionally charged. This is true even though mobility issues, cognitive decline, illness and mobility challenges can make it difficult and even dangerous for a loved one to keep living alone. Having this conversation in a deliberate, empathetic, and honest manner can make the idea more welcoming to a loved one. If you plan on having this conversation, here are some tips that can help things go much better.
Plan the Conversation Beforehand
No one wants to feel ambushed, especially when the conversation is about a significant change to their lifestyle. This means there will be some pushback if your loved one feels like this. To avoid it, plan how you will navigate the conversation to avoid a confrontation.
Start by setting the tone by introducing the topic to other concerned loved ones. This can make the conversation feel less upsetting if other loved ones have noticed what you have. Second, plan and decide who will broach the topic and when they will do it. Get the family member to talk to the loved one so they do not feel ambushed.
Starting the Conversation
The conversation should be about the concerns you and other family members have. Let your loved one know you are concerned about their safety, and you are broaching the subject out of love and concern. Be as specific as possible about what you are concerned about.
Once you have a baseline set, you can start discussing the benefits of senior living. These include peace of mind for everyone involved, assistance in case of emergencies, prepared meals, housekeeping, activities, social interactions and companionship.
You can have an expert around so they can discuss the topic in more depth with your loved one and answer any questions they have. Medical professionals are objective and so you can expect a calm conversation that is not derailed by emotions.
Note that this conversation can take a long time because your loved one might resist the idea. Just keep talking to them to let them see how this decision benefits them. Also, let other people chime in to ensure the decision is inclusive.
Once your loved one agrees to move to a senior living facility, it is time to find the right home for them. When searching for senior living communities, keep the needs and preferences of your loved one in mind. Also, check that the communities you are looking at provide the amenities, services, care and help your loved one needs. Check out a few senior living communities before settling on one for your loved one.
The last step is preparing to move. It might take some time for your loved one to say goodbye to their home. Let them take the time to do so but encourage them to do so quickly to prevent them from changing their mind.
Some people aren’t open to leaving their homes and moving to a senior living facility. However, it will be beneficial to them and their family if they are no longer safe in their home or require a level of care a caregiver would struggle to provide. Knowing how to have that conversation the right way will also benefit everyone involved.