Change is often difficult, no matter the size of the change or at what point in life the change occurs. There are all sorts of reasons why people decide to make large changes in life – age, a change of financial circumstances, a change in health status or a change in family dynamics are some of the most common drivers of change.
Moving into senior living is a very big life change. It can take time and effort to identify options for aging parents and loved ones, and sometimes, this effort is met with challenges, moving anxiety and reluctance to change.
Once the conversation about moving seniors to assisted living or a senior community happens, there can be lots of stops and starts, challenges and concerns. So, what is the best way to present options for aging parents? And how do you know what to do when an elderly parent refuses needed care?
When Aging Parents Can’t Live Alone
Ultimately, the easiest time to discuss moving into senior living is before the senior in your life really needs additional support. When a senior is healthy, active, mentally engaged and emotionally well, it is the best time to make decisions and to plan for the future. As these circumstances change over time, the conversations about moving to a senior community will become more difficult. If a senior’s decision-making abilities become impaired, it will be considerably more difficult to have meaningful conversations. Additionally, any safety or health issue that brings up the conversation of moving into senior living will become more pronounced over time. For example, if a senior falls, future falls are more likely. If a senior develops a chronic health condition, additional forms of health decline are more likely.
If more concrete signs are needed to begin the conversation about moving into senior living, here are some ways to tell that a senior may need additional support:
- Has the senior lost weight?
- Is the person experiencing insomnia?
- Do you see signs of confusion or difficulty completing daily tasks?
- Are there any indications of physical or mental decline?
Once it is clear that the time is right, the conversation about moving into senior living should be a two-way discussion. Here are some tips on how to talk to your parents or loved ones:
- Begin the conversation as early as possible. There is no need to wait for a health crisis or safety issue to occur to start this discussion. Start planning with no pressure and allow yourselves time to make decisions and make it fun!
- Listen. Seniors can have moving anxiety when leaving their own home. It is important not to minimize these feelings, but to acknowledge them and assure them their wishes will be respected.
- There is no rush. Allow your loved one time to come to peace with what is needed, so you can move forward together.
- Give empathy, not sympathy. When presenting options for aging parents, approach the conversation with calm and kindness, and be accepting of their concerns.
- Have the talk again. And again. It is possible that the discussion of moving to senior living may need to take place multiple times. The decision to move into a supportive community is a process. It is not a quick decision!
- Consider the options. Find ways to show your loved one that they have choices. Make in-person visits, do online tours and allow them to ask questions.
Why Do Elderly Parents Refuse Help?
Why do elderly parents refuse help? Aging can be a scary process, and no one has experience with it until they get there. When aging parents can’t live alone, it may be obvious to many loved ones around them, but it may be a hard reality to accept themselves. To help keep aging loved ones on track and to overcome objections, try these ideas:
- Talk to family members and friends. Do others see a need for a move to senior living? If you are on the same page, you can help support each other.
- Focus on the benefits. When discussing moving into senior living, stay focused on the benefits. Remind your loved one about the social opportunities, educational and health programs, as well as on-site meals and health support.
- Find teachable moments. Is the trash overwhelming? Is the yard work too much? Are they feeling lonely? These moments can be great opportunities to discuss options for aging parents.
- Consult a third party. Physicians, physical therapists and family counselors can offer advice from an unbiased point of view.
- Take a tour. Talk about moving to assisted living, then go take a few tours of communities near you.
About Mount Prospect Senior Living
At Mount Prospect Senior Living, we are committed to making our residents’ next chapter exactly what they want! Through our Vibrant Life® program, we offer activities and events, amenities and dining experiences that offer a new experience each day.
Are you ready to learn more about Mount Prospect Senior Living? Contact us today to ask questions or set up an on-site tour!