For some older adults, the move to a senior living community such as Waterstone on High Ridge, offering independent living, assisted living and memory care, provides security and confidence for the future. These individuals prefer to make a move before a crisis occurs and their family members need to make decisions for them. They understand that today’s senior living communities are not the institutionalized facilities of the past – but rather are designed to enhance wellness and quality of life through convenient services, amenities and enriching lifestyle opportunities.
For others, however, the idea of senior housing may bring uncertainty or even frustration because they view it as a loss of independence, or they are simply resistant to change. They may be adamant about staying in their family home or may not realize how significantly changes in their health or mobility have affected their lifestyle and well-being.
We understand that starting the conversation about senior living with your aging loved one can be a difficult subject to broach. Unfortunately, many families wait too long to discuss the subject because they’re unsure of how their loved one will react. The reality is that having the conversation early and making a move before it’s truly necessary can actually help to relieve future anxiety.
Use our expert tips below to help make the conversation with your aging parent go smoother – and help them transition to a carefree senior living lifestyle.
It’s common for aging parents to tell their adult children that moving to assisted living or other senior living community isn’t necessary. Before you have the conversation, try to observe your loved one throughout their daily routine. If you notice any of the following concerns, take note as it may help you to explain your position and provide positive encouragement during the discussion.
- They need support with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing or grooming
- Access to health care would provide greater peace of mind
- They are overwhelmed taking care of a large home
- Forgetfulness is becoming more frequent
- Attention to proper hygiene and/or nutrition is lacking
- Your loved one is recovering from an accident, surgery or illness, and short-term care needs have become long-term
- They seem to be showing more signs of isolation and loneliness
Many seniors may be holding on to the perception that senior living communities are like the nursing homes of the past. Today, senior living options have changed radically, offering a range of social opportunities, engaging programs, supportive care when needed, and delicious meals akin to the finest restaurants. It’s possible their preconceived notions may be what is keeping them from a lifestyle they’ll love.
The more you know about senior living, the better you’ll be able to help guide them on their journey. Before you introduce the conversation with your loved one, start by talking to team members at local communities. Ask questions about service offerings. Take a tour of the apartments. Check out the activities, programs and events. At Waterstone on High Ridge, our Senior Advisors are always ready to share tips and advice to make the conversation easier and provide resources to help your individual situation.
Starting the Conversation
One of the most important things to consider when bringing up senior living is when should you? At Waterstone on High Ridge, we believe that answer is as early as possible. This extra time ensures you can plan accordingly, tour a range of communities, and make the right choice for your loved one. Otherwise, the decision may be rushed if a sudden health issue occurs.
The best place to begin the conversation about senior living may be different for everyone, but it’s likely a good idea to chat in a private, quiet place that is free of distractions. Make sure your loved one is in a good mood and seems open to talking with you – if they are not, it might be better to choose another day, so the conversation flows more easily.
Aside from being emotionally charged, the conversation can also be a bit intimidating for an adult child to bring up the subject of senior living. While you may not know how the conversation will go, it will help to focus on being empathetic and respectful. Be sure to use positive language and a pleasant tone when you are speaking about senior living.
You may want to begin by asking your loved one if they are feeling safe and happy at home, or if they feel overwhelmed by the daily upkeep and maintenance. Ask whether they are feeling engaged at home – or if they sometimes feel lonely. Identify the “what-if” scenarios to determine if they have a plan in mind related to health changes. Find out their perceptions about senior living.
Take time to think about their answers and respond thoughtfully. Remember to make it a two-way conversation. Gently share your concerns and thoughts, but make sure you’re attentively listening to theirs as well.
Make It an Ongoing Conversation
Keep in mind that the conversation may be an evolving process and likely won’t be a once-and-done discussion. Let your loved one know that you don’t expect to make any immediate decisions, but you want to understand their thoughts and plans related to the future so that you can come to an agreement that both honors their wishes – and safely supports their needs.
Explore Senior Living Options Together
If your aging loved one is open to it, we highly suggest taking them to a senior living community to enjoy a tour, participate in programs, and get a taste of the dining experience for themselves. They may find that a senior living community like Waterstone on High Ridge is exactly the kind of place they’d love to be – making the process smoother while bringing you both peace of mind.
Waterstone on High Ridge offers a modern approach to senior living in a beautiful hilltop setting. Come see how we redefine independent living, assisted living and memory care in Fairfield County, just minutes away from fine restaurants, retail stores and cultural venues in Stamford and Greenwich.