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Having the Conversation: Approaching the Topic of Senior Living with Your Loved One



Many seniors require consistent and focused attention due to their increasing physical and psychological needs, and family members come to the realization over time that it’s just not a safe option to keep them in their own homes. But, having that conversation with your senior can be a difficult one.

The first thing you should do is create a list of reasons why a senior home would be the best choice for the loved one in question. Do some research about the facilities yourself so you can be better prepared about explaining why moving would be a good idea, while also remembering to be respectful of their own wishes.

We know how hard it can be for both you and your loved one to make such a big change in your lives. However, sometimes it’s the best option for your loved one’s sake. To help you navigate such a difficult phase, the following pointers should help out when approaching the topic of senior living with the elderly person in your life.


7 Steps to Having “The Conversation” With Your Loved One

1.Educate yourself on what senior living communities are like

You can’t help your seniors understand the importance of senior living homes if you don’t fully grasp them yourself. Senior homes are not just about providing room and board. They offer a full range of care and activities to promote health and emotional fulfillment in a senior’s life. Taking the time to research what a typical day at an assisted living community would be like is a great first step to show your loved one that you’re doing your best to understand their needs.


2.Create a list of reasons

Observe your elderly family member and create a list of reasons why they should consider a senior home. Are they having trouble bathing or getting dressed? Are they becoming forgetful and you’re worried about household accidents like starting a fire in the kitchen or leaving the bath water running? Are they a fall risk? Are they lonely?

This will help you begin your conversation with on-point topics to discuss with your loved one, and will give you a chance to tell them what your specific concerns are.


3.Try some indirect conversation starters

After you’re done making the list of reasons, don’t just walk up to your senior like a salesman and start “selling” your ideas. That could make them think that they are a burden to you, or that you want to “get rid” of them. Try to start a conversations indirectly and help them identify the issues that can be solved by moving to a senior community.

For example, ask if they have been feeling lonely, and if they think it would be nice to spend more time with people their own age. If they live alone, ask them if doing household chores are becoming difficult. Or you can just simply ask them how they are doing. Most elderly folks will have some concerns of their own, if they feel free and encouraged to discuss them. And you can work your way through their concerns and talk about how senior homes can provide the right solutions.


4.Talk about positives

Seniors tend to focus on the negative aspects of any sort of change. So, try to focus on the positive aspects of moving to a senior living community. Talk about the services they’ll provide, and the people they’ll meet.

Discuss how a senior home will relieve them of all responsibilities and help them live their golden years to the fullest with as little worry as possible.


5.Have the conversation while the senior is healthy

Don’t just wait for your senior’s health to deteriorate to a point that caring for them becomes beyond your abilities. By then, they may have become too fragile mentally to be convinced of anything. Also physically, they might not be able to cope with the change as easily.

So, as delicate as it might be, the best course of action would be to have this conversation while they are still mentally and physically sharp.


6.Talk to your loved one in person

Don’t bring up the topic on the phone (unless geographic distance absolutely prevents an in-person discussion). When having a conversation like this, a face-to-face discussion is something your loved one deserves. They will feel more valued and respected, and you can make comforting physical gestures like holding their hand or giving them a hug. If distance really does make it impossible to approach the topic in person, see if you can at least Face Time or Zoom with them, so you can have eye contact and see each other’s expressions.


7.Do not forcefully push the idea

Do not push your senior to make a decision. Have the conversation and let them decide. If they say no, have the conversation again some other time. Make sure they do not feel as if they are a burden to you, or that they are unwanted or unloved. Insecurities and depression can be legitimate concerns when it comes to elderly folks, and handling the discussion with sensitivity is a must. Try to allow them to think about how a senior home can improve their quality of life. Allow them to make that decision for themselves.

In some circumstances, however, it is not a safe or viable option for the senior to remain at home with no company or supervision while they think about their possibilities. In that case, find out if it is possible to have a relative or loved one stay with them, or have them stay at the relative’s homes. If finances allow, in-home care is also an option that might be able to bridge the gap between staying home and moving to a senior living community.


Final Words

It can be challenging to approach the topic of senior living with an elderly loved one, as many older adults have resistance and fears when it comes to such a large change in their lives. It is vital to start this conversation as early and as sensitively as possible.

Convincing your elderly loved one to think about moving to a senior living community is only half of the process. Placement Helpers can help guide your journey to selecting the perfect community by answering your questions and concerns based on your budget, individual desires and geographic preferences. Since 2007, we have been providing free services to seniors and their families, so Contact Us Now, and we can begin your search for the perfect community.

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