How to Have the Conversation About Senior Living

Senior Living
Elderly couple sitting on green grass in the summer park

Posted: May 30, 2019

If you’ve noticed a drop in your loved one’s quality of life, now’s the time to talk to them about their future. It’s normal to be nervous about this. “The conversation” is all too often portrayed in popular culture as an emotion-driven showdown. In real life, it’s more likely to be the first of many discussions in which you and your parents find the right ways to help and support one another. Here are some tips to help you start that process:

Be proactive, not reactive. If your parent has skipped some meals or forgotten to fill a prescription, that’s a time to help, not a time to start the conversation. Choose a relaxed environment, and set a time when no one needs to be rushing.

Do some homework. What are the pros and cons of home care vs. community life? What are the financial implications? Your parents will have more confidence in their decisions if you can show you’ve researched questions like these.

Express feelings, not fears. Using “I” and “We” statements will help with this. “You are losing your mobility and could suffer a bad fall at any moment” is better rephrased as “I am worried that you can’t get around as well as you used to and want to know you’re safe at all times.”

Emphasize the positive. Instead of talking about what your loved one can’t do now, focus on aspects of their independence they will gain or regain in a senior living community.

Finish with a plan of action. This could be as simple as fixing a time to bring the wider family into the discussion, or as involved as arranging a tour of Cappella of Grand Junction.

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