Finding the right environment for aging parents isn’t always easy. There are a lot of options out there, from nursing homes with constant care and attention to independent living communities designed to take some of the burden off of your aging parents without taking away their sense of autonomy. If your parents are beginning to struggle with the upkeep of the family home but still want to be independent, you may be thinking about talking to them about the possibility of moving into a senior living community. However, this can be a delicate subject. Many seniors feel that giving up their home means giving up their freedom, and it can be difficult for them to face the possibility. With that in mind, how can you approach the subject?
Tips for Talking to Aging Parents about Independent Living
Before you talk to your parents about moving to independent living, it’s important to take the time to do some research and planning. What concerns do you have about your parents staying at home, and what kind of environment do you want them to move to? It can be helpful to reach out to friends whose parents have made the transition to a senior community to find out how they feel about their new home. When the time comes to have the conversation with your parents, keep these tips in mind.
- Don’t beat around the bush. This probably isn’t going to be an easy conversation, but dodging the topic will only make it more uncomfortable. Go for a direct approach. Tell your parents the concerns you have about them staying at home, and offer a solution. Explain to them that in a senior living community they will be with peers who understand them. Encourage them to reply, and have a real conversation about their thoughts and concerns.
- Tell another person’s story. For some parents, the direct approach may seem too forceful. In that case, it may help to broach the subject by telling your parents about someone you know living in a senior community. What do they like about it? Have they made friends in the dining room or attended community events? Explain that this person is adapting to the community and has an active lifestyle. Telling the story of a positive experience may help to settle your parents’ fears about making the move.
- Highlight the benefits. For many seniors, moving out of the family home can feel like a big loss, but it can actually be a positive experience. Living in an independent senior community has many upsides. There are services in place which allow occupants the opportunity to feel active, safe, and fulfilled. Residents at Briarwood enjoy amenities like an on-call maintenance staff, a private dining room, a community living room, security services, special interest classes and events, lounges and activity rooms, a beauty and barber shop, a full fitness center with personalized consultations and varied classes, a library, scheduled local transportation, annual house cleaning, learning opportunities, book clubs, and painting and writing groups (not to mention spa services and ongoing social, spiritual, and vocational opportunities). There is something for everyone in a senior living community. Help your parents to see this experience as beneficial, not as a tragic loss.
It’s never easy to tell your parents something they don’t want to hear, but talking to them about independent senior living doesn’t have to be painful. Keep in mind that this should be an open dialogue, and that they might not be ready to make the move right away.
If you are approaching the subject with your parents and want to show them what senior living can be, make an appointment to come to Briarwood. You and your parents can come see the facilities and try a delicious meal in our dining room. Your parents might never want to leave!