Your parents’ decision to make the move into community living won’t happen overnight. But you can start the conversation now, to ensure their happiness and safety in the future.
Often, the children of aging parents are the first to notice signs that their parents could benefit from community living – maybe not immediately, but in the near future.
Knowing how to begin the conversation can be much more difficult than knowing that you should have it. Every family is different, but these are some tips that every adult child should keep in mind as they help their parents discover the benefits of community living.
Ask your parents what their biggest struggles are.
Are they tired of cooking? Do they wish they had a little extra help with the chores? Would they like more of a social life? Community living alleviates these struggles and much more. When you give your parents permission to gripe a little bit, their responses can serve as excellent springboards for a conversation about what could help.
Be your parents’ advocate and advisor.
If your parents are interested in the benefits of community living, they’re going to have questions for you. Be ready for them. There a plenty of helpful online resources that can tell you which communities are in your area, reviews, the amenities they offer, pricing, floorplans, activities, dining options and more. These resources include aplaceformom.com, caring.com and senioradvisor.com.
But don’t stop there, because your parents might not put as much credence on online reviews as you do. Ask your friends and neighbors if they have any relatives enjoying community living in your area. Visit communities by yourself or with your spouse, and know what to ask and look for when touring a senior living community. When you’ve done this, you’ll have the answers for your parents’ questions, and they’ll appreciate your commitment to ensuring that they get the most out of their golden years.
The conversation is a marathon, not a sprint.
Talking to your parents about community living is not a one-and-done proposition. There will be many discussions surrounding the diverse considerations that must be addressed, so don’t make the mistake of trying to get everything ironed out right off the bat. The first conversation about community living should simply introduce the idea to your parents. Surely it’s crossed their minds, but getting it out in the open is an important first step. Then, allow their wants and desires to guide the conversation, as mentioned above. After that, their curiosity and your knowledge (remember: do your homework) should establish trust and a common goal between you and your parents.
As the process unfolds, don’t let your parents feel rushed. This is a decision that is good for them, so allow them to make it at their own pace. If, however, you sense that momentum is flagging or your parents are bringing up unrealistic objections to community living, gently appeal to their wants and needs and ensure that your siblings and relatives are supporting a constructive discussion as well.
Speaking with and helping your parents find the right community for them is a sometimes fun, but often challenging process. It requires teamwork, diligence and a sense of humor. But once your parents have moved into the community that allows them to live freer, more secure, more inspired lives, you’ll be glad you started the conversation when you did.