Because you love your parents, you want what’s best for them, especially in a senior community. Your parents may want happiness, longevity of life and well-being for the entire family. As a responsible child, it's important to commit to those same values for your parents too.
At a certain age, your parent’s health may begin to deteriorate, and they may struggle to find the same joy they had in their earlier years. Many problems can arise, such as dangerous illnesses that can seriously impact a senior’s health that must be dealt with urgency and delicacy. Though this could be a difficult time for you, your parents and your family, there are ways to create a more comfortable process, one of which being a move to a senior community.
Beginning the conversation with your loved ones about the possibility of moving to a senior community can be difficult, but necessary. The discussion requires adequate and proper preparation before addressing the situation. With proper research, talking with your loved ones could offer assurance to both you and your parents. A few things to keep in mind as you prepare:
● Educate yourself on options, expenses and appropriate treatments for your parents.
● Ask the right questions to understand your parent’s situation and feelings regarding the possibility of a move.
If you’re worried about initial questions and conversation starters, here are some options you can use:
● “How is it living at home alone? Do you still feel safe?”
● “Do you feel lonely sometimes? Would you like to spend more time with people your own age?”
● “How do you feel about driving? Would you like other options of mobility?”
● “Is it ever hard to manage your finances and keep up with paying your bills?”
● “Would you feel less stress if you didn’t have to worry about the house?”
After you’ve asked the right questions and understand your parent’s position on the matter, there are a few other considerations to take into account:
Plans For A Senior Community Should Be An Ongoing Discussion
In order to cut back on tension or possible conflict between the family’s and your parent’s desires, treat your conversations as an ongoing process. Though you may have done plenty of research to find the healthiest choice, they may not feel the same way. Many seniors have strong opinions on what they want to do with their time, and therefore, it’s important to consider their feelings in the decision; remember, it’s your parents that will have to make the move, make new friends, and change their lives around, so their feelings are important. Here’s an example of a start to a conversation that is not “ongoing,”
“We need to have a conversation right NOW!”
This may make your parents feel like you and your family are teaming up against them, and they may turn defensive. Instead, consider a similar, more passive approach:
“We want to make sure that you’re well taken care of and happy. However, we’re not sure how to do that unless we understand what you need…”
This is a simple yet direct way of starting an ongoing, non-aggressive talk about future plans with your parents, allowing both sides to feel comfortable and loved.
Talk About Options: Both Location And Payment
Because your loved ones may be living in their new location for the remainder of their lives, researching the right community or home is important. There are plenty of places that your parents can move to that are highly rated and a good fit. One main aspect you’ll want to understand is the difference between the various types of care, such as: home care, assisted living or hospice. Each have their pros and cons, so you’ll want to ensure you understand the needs and desires of your parents before choosing one.
As you go through the selection process, it may be helpful to include your parents in the research, depending on their eagerness to understand each aspect. The more you involve your parents, the more they feel cared for and therefore, may make the process easier and more straightforward.
Another aspect that is crucial to address (and sometimes the most uncomfortable) is finances. According to a Genworth 2018 survey, the costs of senior living communities can range anywhere from $1500 to over $8000 per month, making the decision on the location and services provided even more essential. Depending on your family’s funds or your parent’s retirement savings, financial decisions may need to be made prior to this discussion in order to help prepare for those expenses.
There are plenty of ways to prepare for the range of expenses you and your parents will need to cover. Start by calculating how much is covered under their current health insurance benefits. Once you recognize how insurance can help cover costs as your parents age, map out other ways to finance this life transition. One way to set yourself (and your parents) up for financial success is to plan ahead by saving money in advance. Given your busy schedule, you’ll be glad to know there are easy ways to do this, like going online and setting up an automatic savings account. Be sure to take care of this prior to your conversation though; doing so will allot you some time to save the amount of money needed to help pay for any incurred costs.
Your Impact On Those Closest To You
Though it may appear to be a stressful time, it’s also an exciting opportunity for both you and your parents as they move to a senior community. Remember to stay positive throughout your conversations, using words that are uplifting and enthusiastic. This will help ease the worry that may come as you have these ongoing discussions with your parents. Positivity in a time of opportunity can make a big difference and turn the anxiety into joy. These conversations are moments to take advantage of because they will show the love that you have for them.