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Tips for Having the Senior Living Conversation with Your Older Parents

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The senior living conversation—something that many adult children dread even more than their parents because they aren’t sure how to make the experience positive and productive. But it can be both, simply by keeping a few guidelines in mind, and remembering that the ultimate goal is the health, happiness, and safety of your parent or loved one.

How to Have a Good Senior Living Conversation

Ideally, you should discuss long-term care options with your loved one well before he or she needs help. If you are preparing for the senior living conversation with a loved one for the first time, the following tips can help make the conversation a productive one:

  • It’s a conversation, not a lecture. You’re discussing the future with your parents. You’re bringing up your concerns, and asking them what they think is the best path for them. It’s not the time to declare that you have all the answers let them speak their minds. Be comfortable with pauses and silence-encourage back and forth interaction. Remember, a senior living conversation is a dialogue—let them know what they say is being heard.
  • Ask them what they think. This may be the first time they’ve had the opportunity to voice their concerns-ask them to be candid. What are their fears? Their dreams? What do they imagine senior living to be? How do they view their future? A productive senior living conversation can uncover important truths when each side feels safe expressing their deepest fears and desires.
  • Put yourself in your loved one’s shoes. Think about how you would feel if your adult child was asking you about your future. Would you be scared or defiant? Keep in mind the emotions that come with this topic. Ask how they feel about making this transition, as well as what you can do to make it a smooth process.
  • Don’t try to overpower your loved one. You can communicate how much you care without taking over. Your loved one may already be fearing a loss of control over their life or a lack of independence, so don’t try to force a conclusion on them in the initial senior living conversation. Keep it open and honest and really listen to what they have to say.
  • Communicate your concerns, but don’t place blame. If your parent’s failing memory causes you concern over their safety, say that. Let them know your chief objective is to keep them safe and happy. Don’t make them feel as though their aging is becoming a burden for you. The last thing most parents want to do is to cause pain for their children; remember cognitive issues often result in a reversal of roles to an extent. Be kind with your words.
  • Tell the truth. Don’t mislead, gloss over, or lie to your loved one during a senior living conversation. Even if a person is experiencing changes in their cognitive health, they still deserve respect and honesty. Failure to be honest can erode trust. Be patient and explain things as often as you need to, in a gentle tone.
  • Talk often. A successful senior living conversation is ongoing; there’s a lot of emotion to sift through and everyone involved is making a transition of some kind. It’s not something that can be done in one setting. Instead, have regular conversations about your loved one’s needs.

Remind your parent that senior living doesn’t have to mean they are giving something up.

Instead, let them know it’s a way to ease their life with greater convenience. No more worries about driving at night, getting to doctor’s appointments, or keeping the house clean. In return, they get the benefits of a carefree lifestyle with everything they need. When a senior living conversation focuses on the positive, it’s much easier to reach a decision that works for everyone.

All of the senior living services we offer are designed to empower our residents to thrive. Contact us today to learn more and please download the free guide, The Complete Guide to Choosing Between Senior Living Options. We are here to help you!

Written by
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman

More Articles By
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman

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