Having Important Conversations
When the time comes to consider senior living for your loved one, it is natural to feel apprehensive about discussing the transition. But conversations of this nature are critical and will be more productive if you come prepared.
Tips to Help Your Conversation
While this stage of life can be full of stress and emotion, these tips may help make your conversations more positive.
- Do your research. By understanding exactly what care level your loved one might need, your approach to research can be more streamlined.
- Learn the lingo. Independent living, assisted living, and memory care are all different services that offer various care levels. Arm yourself with this knowledge so you can confidently approach your loved one.
- Ask “how would I feel?” By putting yourself in your loved one’s shoes, you will be better equipped to comprehend the fears and apprehension they may be facing.
- Choose your words wisely. Terms such as “assisted living” and “community” are less intimidating than “nursing home” and “facility.”
- Be conscious of your tone. Speak in a calm and pleasant voice to reassure your loved one. Try hard to maintain that tone throughout the conversation—even if your loved one becomes angry.
Involve your loved one (if they want).
- Avoid the “us vs. them” mentality. Offer to include your loved one in the research and take their input into consideration. Show them the Sunrise website and blog, explaining that they can bring along their dog and furniture. Also include them on community tours—they may be more invested in the process as a result.
- Respect your loved one’s wishes. If your loved one would rather you handle the process, respect their wishes and try to make the transition as seamless as possible.
Don’t do it by yourself.
- Include an unbiased third party. Bringing another person into the conversation, such as a doctor or close friend, can help ground the discussion and keep things on track.
- Get your family members on board. Family tension can add stress to an already stressful situation. Connect with your family prior to approaching your loved one and make sure you are all on the same team.
Understand you may face some resistance.
- Do not expect to come to a decision after one conversation. Resisting change is normal. Let your loved one sit with the idea of getting some assistance or moving.
- Make this an ongoing conversation. Set aside time to revisit the topic after your initial talk and continue to approach the subject with sensitivity.
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