How do you start a very sensitive conversation with a loved one about moving into a senior living community? It is a topic that cannot be done all at once and needs to be spread out over a period of time. Taking a step-by-step approach with this topic is very important. So if you are a child, friend or loved one and you see some signs that a senior living community might be in someone's best interest, how do you go about starting the senior living transition talk?
You need to begin with an initial conversation. First, bringing up the idea is enough to get the conversation about moving into a senior living started. You are wise to understand the importance of having your loved one be part of the decision making process with you so they don't feel that you are trying to take over and make the decision for them. If you approach it this way, the idea of moving into senior living will go a lot smoother.
It is also a good idea to do some research and call around to different senior living communities early. It's helpful to know what is open currently, how often apartments become available, costs, and levels of care a senior living community provides. This will help you narrow down what might fit your loved one's needs so you can discuss these options with them. From there, if they are not resistant to the idea, schedule tours. Ask friends or family if they have relatives in any communities that might be near by. Residents who build relationships right off the bat in senior living communities tend to have an easier transition period. It also makes them feel more comfortable if they know someone already at the senior living community they have chosen.
When or if a pivotal moment arises (such as a fall at home), use this as a way to increase your conversations and search for senior living options if you haven't already. This may give your loved one a reality check that they need, to start the process of touring or considering a move into senior living housing.
To make them feel more open or included once they have chosen a senior living community, have them join the group ahead of time for a meal or an activity. This way there is an opportunity to meet people and develop familiar faces by the time they do finally decide to move in.
When parents or loved ones ARE ready and have set a move in date with their chosen senior living community, work together to pick out what furniture they are going to bring or what apartment size they would like. This will make them feel more comfortable with their surroundings after they move in. It is always good to remind your loved one of the amenities that the senior living community offers. For example, they will not have to worry about shoveling in the driveway or taking care of the yard work. All of their meals may be provided for them so they will not have to worry about cooking or buying groceries anymore.
It is important not to wait until an "event" happens to start looking into senior living communities. This will cause a lot of stress for family and their loved one because you will not be able to chose a senior living community together. If an "event" happens, they may also be limited in how much they can enjoy activities offered or perhaps even end up exceeding the level of care that they really want to be in such as a independent live or assisted living.
Making a move into a senior living community is a BIG deal. Seniors may have lived in the same community or house for 50 plus years. They may be worried about making new friends or remaining as independent as possible after moving into the community. This is why it is good to warm them up to the idea over time and not rush things if you don't have to.
If you have questions about how to talk to your loved one about moving into a senior living community, contact one of our Community Relations Directors in Cedar Rapids, Burlington, and Marion.