Carillon Senior Living Blog
5 Tips for Talking About Senior Living with Loved Ones This Holiday Season
As you gather with family to celebrate the holidays, it’s the perfect time to talk with Mom and Dad about what they envision for their future and where they might want to live. Their choice affects you, their adult child, so it’s fair that you have some idea of their plans.
Do they want to remain in their existing home and pay for assistance as needed ? Or, would they prefer a Life Plan senior living community with multiple social and recreational opportunities in addition to future assistance and healthcare? Have they taken any steps toward getting what they want?
To find out, here are five tips for having that important conversation. The key is to respect your loved ones’ autonomy and right to self-determination. Of course, if health issues endanger their ability to live independently, that’s an entirely different conversation and requires immediate action.
1. Understand their point of view.
It may help to think about how you would want someone to approach the topic of your future—for instance, interested, not judgmental, helpful, not infantilizing. Surveys show the majority of seniors say they don’t want to be a burden to their families. Talk with Mom and Dad about how making proactive decisions early ensures they stay in control and get the type of future they want while saving family members from making difficult choices. If they show interest in moving, be aware that many senior living communities require residents to be capable of living independently prior to moving in. Therefore, waiting until a serious health issue develops will likely limit their choices.
2. Start small.
Moving is a big decision at any age, and making decisions that completely upend a person’s world takes time. Consider asking questions about what your loved ones want and what plans they’ve made already. If the conversation stalls, maybe talk about a big change you’re considering and how that makes you feel. Asking their opinion about it shows mutual respect and understanding. Above all, listen, be curious and let the conversation flow naturally.
3. Focus on the positives.
It can be fun to daydream about the future. Would they like to be closer to others who share their interests? Some communities have active volunteer organizations, others offer engaging social scenes, some boast an impressive number of fitness and wellness opportunities. Would having help around the house relieve a lot of the burdens and worries that come with staying where they are? No one wants Dad on the ladder changing a lightbulb. Is it getting harder for them to drive or grocery shop? Senior living communities in Lubbock, Texas offer a host of supportive services to help older adults live independently. What about emergencies? Would they feel more secure knowing there’s someone nearby they can call day or night?
4. Don’t expect to arrive at answers and a plan right away.
Start the conversation this month and pick it back up every few months when you and your loved ones are relaxed. Don’t pressure them into a decision. Show respect and caring by offering to help with researching senior living communities or accompanying them to an open house.
5. Put a temporary plan in place.
Eventually, you may need to help your loved ones put a temporary plan in place until they’re ready to make a move. By just creating the plan, it may be easier for them to envision the future. Start by saying, “If something happens, I’d like to know your wishes so I can help you get what you want.” Pick three scenarios such as a fall that necessitates short-term skilled care, a stroke that requires long-term nursing care and a situation where they need assisted living. Where would they want to go for each of those scenarios? Do they want three different places as part of the plan? Or, would a community like Carillon, which offers all three options in one location, be their top choice?
With love, empathy and a few deft conversations, you and your loved ones can navigate these choices so everyone feels better about what the future holds. To learn about your loved ones’ senior living options and hear what Carillon offers, give us a call at 806.696.8288 or send us a note.