Nearly 90 percent of adults age 65 and older dream of aging in place rather than moving to a retirement community. If you feel your loved one could benefit from living in a retirement community, gently approach the subject. Here are 5 tips when talking to your loved ones about retirement living:
1. Prep for the Talk
Moving to a community is a major life change, so your loved one may have questions or concerns about the process. To help put their mind at ease, educate yourself before you broach the topic.
Here are some things you may need to know before the conversation:
- Amenities offered at local retirement communities
- Prices for communities versus prices associated with aging in place
- Admission requirements
- Rules and schedules, such as dining programs, visitor policies, etc.
- Restrictions regarding pets or personal possessions
Think about what is important to your loved one as you do your research. Are they a pet owner who cannot part with their four-legged friend, or do they have allergies that may make it difficult to live somewhere that allows cats and dogs? Do they have a disability that requires special accommodations? These are all important factors to consider during the discussion
2. Offer Options
Your loved one deserves a say in where they live. When discussing do not focus on one community. Mention several local places, and honestly address the pros and cons of each one. This helps your loved one make an informed choice without feeling pressured.
3. Keep the Conversation Light
Aging is a sensitive topic for many older adults, so avoid comments about the process that might cause anxiety or sadness. It’s also good to avoid statements that may seem like personal attacks; for example, you might not want to imply your loved one is incapable of caring for his or her self.
Speak with compassion, and do not bring up sobering topics like death or serious medical concerns that your loved one hopes to recover from. Focus on positive aspects, like how you will visit regularly or how your loved one will meet new friends through trips, programs, and other activities and amenities at the facility.
4. Ask for Feedback
Take time to listen to your loved one’s thoughts. Your parent or friend may feel scared or depressed about the potential transition from living in their own home to residing in a community. These are normal feelings, so do not ignore them during a conversation.
Ask your loved one how they feel about the potential move, and find out if there are any specific wants or needs for their new home. They may want a community with housekeeping services, a residence with a particular view or a specific activity offered.
5. Have Multiple Discussions
The conversation may not go well the first time you broach the subject. Even if it does, it is important to mention the potential move regularly. This helps to prepare for the future and keep an open dialog. These discussions can be difficult, but it is the first step towards a positive transition.
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Moving to a retirement community is a major life change, but it does not have to be an unwanted one. Talk to your loved one about the potential move in a gentle, compassionate manner to help make the anticipated transition go smoothly.