There are many reasons why you may need to discuss senior housing with your parents. When an older parent’s living situation becomes a concern well-meaning family and friends often begin insisting that the person move out of their home. Many times older people have lived in their homes for decades so they’re attached to their home, neighborhood, friends and nearby family; these attachments are seen as reasons not to move. In addition, most seniors fear giving up the independence that moving may rob them of. These reasons should all be discussed and considered when looking at relocation. In fact, there are many life changes, including retirement and the need for greater care, that become reasons to look at moving. If your parent is not managing well within their current home, you may need to discuss moving.
Here are some tips for discussing senior housing with your parents:
- Be open, honest and calm. Listen more then you talk as your parents first reaction to the idea of moving will likely be based purely on emotion. For this reason it is critical to remain calm so you’re not adding to the emotion of the situation. Make sure that you listen carefully to your parents concerns and objections, without minimizing them or being condescending as they may feel a tremendous amount of fear once they realize they are not functioning well on their own. Your parents may also fear losing their freedom or their home so always approach the idea of moving with compassion. Empathy is tremendously helpful as you assist your parents dealing with upcoming changes.
- Present the options. When it comes to options for living arrangements for your senior citizen parents, it’s important that they understand that there are numerous options and it’s not an all or nothing situation. Many times senior citizens can stay in their current home with some modifications or assistance. In-home options include:
- Modifying or remodeling the existing home – Often done to provide a better traffic flow or easier access to bathroom, modifying or remodeling an existing home, including installation of handicap facilities throughout the home, gives seniors who are still healthy enough and able to take care of themselves, the option to remain in their home.
- In home care – Available full- or part-time, live in or live out, in home care is a great option, depending on what type of help your aging parent needs. There are individuals who can come in and clean, cook or help with self-care and therapy, thus allowing your senior citizen parents to remain in their home. Your elderly parents should be part of any discussion regarding in-home care as they often. Senior citizens can’t always imagine how an in-home caregiver can possibly help them. To ease the transition, suggest they “try out” the caregiver by assigning them basic housekeeping chores such as doing the laundry, changing bed linens and general cleaning duties. The caregiver can also run errands such as grocery shopping or accompanying your parents to doctor appointments. Sometimes the caregiver can simply be a companion to drive the elderly to the movies or church. Often, the caregiver is a senior citizen as well so your parents may find much in common with them.
- Senior day care – If your parents don’t need ’round the clock yet but could use some assistance with meals and activities during the day, senior centers are a great transitional option. They serve meals, provide basic health care and have social activities, too. These centers are meant for seniors who are still relatively independent and don’t need around the clock care. Senior day care is taste of what assisted living is like.
The decision to move from one’s home to a new living situation is not an easy one for seniors. Options vary depending on the health and financial status of the senior citizen. As the child of a senior citizen, it’s your job to help your parents make decisions on their living situation depending on their needs.