Talking to your parents about moving out of their home can be overwhelming and difficult. Naturally, you may be hesitant to attempt to convince your parents that it’s time to downsize to senior housing. Whether the move would be to an independent senior apartment, an assisted living community or a nursing home, you’re likely to meet resistance as your parents probably won’t even be open to discussing moving. The first hurdle in the process is getting your parents to consider moving as a possibility. Unless you’re in a crisis situation, broach the subject with your parents then allow them time to get used to the idea. With time and exposure to the idea, moving may become a positive idea. Here are some things to consider when you discuss senior housing with your parents:
- Senior citizens frequently resist change. It’s crucial to consider the situation from their point of view. Think about how long your parents have lived in their house and what the home means to them. Introduce the idea in a conversational manner and give them time to think about the idea of change. Giving them time to consider the options on their own allows them the freedom to come to their own conclusions. In addition, because part of their reluctance may be related to stereotypical “senior living”, it’s important to show them that there are a number of possibilities, many of which may be quite appealing.
- Show them the possibilities. Communities for senior citizens realize the stigma attached to them, one which they must overcome. To that end, many communities host educational classes or fun community outings to help introduce possible residents to modern living for senior citizens. Most communities offer free tours that can be scheduled around lunch, with lunch included in the tour. Check out the senior communities in your area and explore which activities they offer that might be of interest to your parents.
- Emotions. Unless you are dealing with a crisis situation, keep the conversation low-key and remember that your parents value their independence as much as you value yours. Introduce the idea long before it becomes a necessity to allow your parents plenty of time to explore their options. It’s also important to be open to discussing possibilities with your parents. Consider all available choices since some senior citizens are capable of staying in their own homes with a little outside help. There is no “one size fits all” answer.
- React calmly. Remember that, unless your parents are mentally incapacitated, they still have the right to make their own decisions. If they are adamant about staying in their own home, and they are mentally competent, that’s their choice. Keep in mind that there are resources available to help senior citizens stay in their own homes. Check with the local senior center, agency for the aging, hospital or other community support group for help with home modifications and other resources. Sometimes a few modifications to the home or a part-time caregiver can help your parents remain independent in their home. Finally, if your parents are not willing to discuss their living situation right now, wait awhile then address the subject again, after they’ve had to think about it.