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Talking to a Parent About Transitioning to Senior Living

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An older adult woman and her daughter sitting on lawn chairs outside, smiling and talking to each other while holding a warm beverage

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to discussing the move to senior living. Here are some tips for talking to a parent about the transition into senior living:

  • Bring it up gently and early
  • Discuss their current living situation
  • Listen and empathize with them
  • Plan for the future together
  • Be patient and respectful of their thoughts and feelings
  • Discuss the various lifestyle options

Remember, this conversation is the start of an ongoing dialogue about your parent’s health and well-being. Don’t go into it expecting that everything will instantly resolve, which is why starting the conversation early is an important step. Then, the need to make a rushed decision is less likely. 

Discussing Senior Living With Your Parent

There isn’t a “right or wrong” way to talk to your parent about transitioning into a senior living community. How you go about it ultimately depends on your parent’s current mental and physical state or personality.

Bring It Up Gently

It’s essential to approach the conversation with sensitivity and empathy. Start by asking your parent about their general thoughts on aging and asking if they’ve thought about their future care needs. Share your concerns and desires to make sure they’re safe and well-cared for. Be transparent and honest but also gentle in your approach.

Start Early

An important thing to do when discussing senior living options is to start the conversation early. As parents age, their needs and abilities may change, and it’s essential to be aware of and discuss these changes openly.

Be sure to approach the topic of senior living before a crisis or a significant health event. Start the conversation proactively when everyone is healthy and able. Then, everyone can approach the subject calmly and rationally.

Discuss Their Current Living Situation

It’s important to have a specific situation to address when approaching the conversation. For example, perhaps your parent has had a recent fall, which made it clear that they need more daily support.

Talk with your parent about what has led you to broach the topic, and ask them what they’re experiencing in their daily life. This conversation isn’t meant to be accusatory but rather an open and honest dialogue about what may be best in their current situation.

Listen & Empathize

Remember that your parents may feel anxious, overwhelmed, or resistant to the idea of senior living. Try to put yourself in their shoes and empathize with their feelings. Be an active listener and understand their concerns. Acknowledge their fears and stress that this decision is not a judgment of their worth as individuals but is a way to look after their continued health and safety.

Plan for the Future Together

As you discuss senior living options, planning for the future together is important. Discuss healthcare directives, power of attorney, and financial planning with your parents. Consider meeting with a financial planner or attorney to help you create a plan that addresses your parents’ future needs—not just their living accommodations.

Be Patient & Respectful

Remember that this conversation may take time, and your parents may need time to process and accept the idea of transitioning to senior living. Be patient and respectful of their feelings and decisions. Respect their autonomy and involve them in decision-making as much as possible.

Discuss Lifestyle Options

Discussing the living options can come up at any time during these conversations. A couple of options include:

Independent Living

Independent living communities typically provide various services, such as housekeeping and meal plans, making life a bit easier for older adults. All these things can help an older adult maintain their independence as long as possible.

Assisted Living

Assisted living shares many similarities with independent living senior communities, as there are often services and amenities to make life easier for residents. However, with assisted living, there is greater emphasis on assisting older adults with things like medication management or access to healthcare professionals.

It’s important to note that even in an assisted living community, the goal is to give the residents as much independence as they can safely handle.

A young woman embracing her older adult mother in the kitchen, as they both look directly at the camera and smiling

Discuss Your Parent’s Living Options with Us

There’s not always an easy way to have these conversations with the people we love most. We’re all unique people with feelings and emotions. Some older adults may feel like they’re giving up or leaving their life behind when transitioning into senior living. So, focusing on how this transition can enhance their lives and bring about more joy in their golden years is essential.

Contact us today at The Landmark of Fridley if you’re considering communities in Fridley with your loved one. We’re happy to answer all your questions and take you and your parent on a community tour to see what you can expect when you call a Lifespark Community home.

Written by Lifespark

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