How To Start the Conversation

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Caring for aging parents is challenging even under the best of circumstances. Many adult children find themselves in the process of transitioning their family members out of the home and into a senior living community. For others, they’ve just begun to initiate the discussion. Sometimes these conversations can be wrought with uncertainty and even resentment depending on family dynamics. Change of lifestyle is stressful no matter the person’s age. Going to a senior living community marks the beginning of a new phase where it’s common for the aging parent to feel like they’re losing their independence to a certain extent; or being forced into making a compromise they’re uncomfortable with. Resistance is a normal reaction and should be met with understanding.

From the caregiver’s point of view, the move is often viewed as a remedy to the current situation while making certain aspects of daily living remain intact. Getting their parents into a social setting is often a key motivator as it sustains interpersonal connections and enhances quality of life. Though there are numerous benefits to living in senior communities, for those who’ve been caring for their parents under the same roof, this topic can be especially delicate. Sometimes it’s a matter of the parent not wanting to let go of a familiar routine, i.e., relinquishing their comfort zone. This can become an added stressor for family members who are looking at long-term solutions for everyone involved. There are ways to work around these sensitive points without feeling guilty or restrained:

  • Choose a designated time to have the conversation or find ways to approach the subject and have ongoing dialogue
  • Engage in thorough and thoughtful discussion of the current living situation versus Senior Living communities
  • Identify any pros & cons
  • Mindfulness of the caregiver’s perspectives; rationale
  • Mindfulness of the parent’s concerns or fears
  • Discuss all realistic options
  • Examine and evaluate available resources within the caregiver’s environment
  • Make a collaborative effort to research various communities
  • Make visits to chosen communities
  • Decipher a plan of action as a family
  • Consult with a licensed life care manager on any or all of the above

When families find themselves trying to work through these situations, connecting with a certified and licensed life care manager they trust is invaluable. A certified life care manager can offer the guidance and tools that will help implement a practical plan of action for relocation to a senior community. They can also fill in details that may’ve been overlooked and facilitate the larger tasks that can be overwhelming at the start. Aging life care is the pinnacle of thoughtful planning. Ultimately these life decisions are a collaborative effort and bring renewed solidarity to the family unit as they arrive at the next destination together.

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