The parent/child relationship endures some uncomfortable conversations over the years. That birds and bees talk you had when you were 13? Yeah, you’re probably still reeling from that one.
But how you frame a talk that can be hard to have makes all the difference for both sides. And at no time is that truer than when you have to introduce the idea of home health care or senior living services to your mom, dad or loved one.
The last thing anyone wants is to feel someone is stealing their independence away. Constructing your senior living talk around your parent’s personality, needs and relationship with you can help them see this change as a positive – now they can finally have more time and freedom to do the things they love.
8 Ways to Introduce Senior Living to Someone
Here are a few ways you, as a caregiver, can make “the talk” a little easier.
Approach the subject of long-term care long before your loved one requires it. It’s important to know their expectations, their financial situation (for instance, do they have nursing home insurance?), and signs they feel indicate the need for long-term care. If the “What ifs?” turn into the “right nows,” you’ll be ready.
Do Your Homework
Learn the differences between home health care, assisted senior living and skilled nursing facilities (subscribe to our blog for instant access to these differences.) Research options in your area and see which offers activities your loved one enjoys. Take a visit before you talk to Mom or Dad – they depend on you to help guide the way.
Find the Right Conversation Starter
It might be time to finally have the talk if Mom falls at home or Dad ends up in the hospital after forgetting to take his medicine again.
Or, it could be something simpler. “Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to rake these leaves every fall?” or “Jane was just telling me the other day how much fun her mom is having in her new dance class at her senior living community.”
Set the Right Mood
Dedicate the time to having a thorough conversation instead of mentioning senior care in passing. Keep the talk as relaxed as possible when approaching the topic at first. It may take a few discussions to make the move from a conversation to a visit at an assisted living or skilled nursing facility.
Focus on the Positive
Many people think senior care services mean you give up your freedom. But with home health care or assisted living especially, the opposite is true. When someone takes care of laundry, housekeeping, and other duties, there’s more time to enjoy doing the things you love. Use positive words like “condo” instead of “room,” and “residential community” instead of “senior facility.”
Don’t guilt your loved one into making a decision, but be clear about your concerns. If their condition causes them to forget things or affects their mobility, share the dangers that could happen. While you want to be with them all the time, it’s just not possible. There are options where someone can look out for their safety without sacrificing their privacy.
Rely on Empathy
It can be heartbreaking for your parent to leave behind the life they know for a life they don’t. Stress that this decision is hard for you, too, but you will be with them at every step. Ask your Mom or Dad what you can do to make this big change easier on them.
Don’t Make All the Decisions For Them
Unless advanced dementia or Alzheimer’s alters your loved one’s ability to make decisions, be sure they have a say in their care. Visit the facilities that interest them, encourage them to ask questions of the staff, and if needed, meet with a third party who can help them wade through all their choices.
Helping Caregivers Start the Talk
Caring for aging parents is never easy, especially with all the tough decisions you and your family have to make. Our Envision Home Health Care team is here to help, not only by offering in-home health care services to allow your loved one to live in their home longer but by providing free assessments to determine which level of long-term senior living care is best for them.
Need help talking with your parent or other family members?
Feel free to contact us today for a free in-home assessment as we can provide helpful suggestions that will make this difficult conversation a little easier.
Need Some Help Navigating Through Senior Health?
Aging in place comes with its own benefits and challenges.
From tips on having “the talk” with Mom or Dad to choosing treatment plans for a loved one, this free ebook helps to make care decisions easier for everyone.