When a loved one retires, families should begin to think about how to have the senior living conversation so they have a plan for the future. But the senior living conversation can be tricky and even provoke bad feelings if it’s not handled with compassion and sensitivity. Before having the senior living conversation, consider these common questions families have about doing it right the first time.
1) How can we prepare for the senior living conversation?
The first step in the senior living conversation process is to speak with all family members to find out how they feel about a move to senior living. Although family members who are or will be primary caregivers may feel they have an upper hand in the decision-making process, it is essential to include everyone and let them have their say too. Since every sibling has a unique relationship with a parent or other loved one and may know something that others don’t, having an open mind is the best way to stave off problems down the road.
To prepare for the meeting everyone should prepare their questions and concerns and be given enough time to share them with the group. This helps to establish where problems may exist and give families time to address and hopefully resolve them in advance of the senior living conversation. For meeting planning tips, check out the agingcare.com article, “Family Meetings: Making Care Decisions for Aging Parents.”
2) When is the best time to have the senior living conversation?
Every family situation is different but the best time to begin the senior living conversation is as early as possible. While it is not unusual for a healthy senior to feel adamant about remaining at home, introducing the topic long before care is needed can help seniors feel they have choices and aren’t being railroaded into a move. Starting the senior living conversation early also helps families be prepared for emergencies like an illness or injury that requires a sudden move to senior living.
Be sure to keep the conversation all-inclusive so the senior realizes it’s not a “me against them” situation but rather one where everyone just wants what’s best for their parents or loved ones. Find out more ways to begin the senior living conversation in the health.usnews.com article, “Having the Conversation With a Loved One About Senior Living.”
3) How can we show how much senior living has changed for the better?
Seniors who have not experienced modern senior living often have some pretty grim memories of “nursing homes” of the past and are not in any hurry to move. With this in mind, it’s worth everyone’s time to move on in the senior living conversation and take a look at the possibilities online via picture galleries and video tours at prospective communities.
Next, schedule live tours so everyone can experience first-hand how wonderful senior living has become. Among the many changes are private, well-appointed and accessible apartments, villas and condominiums, truly amazing chef-prepared meals, an ongoing calendar of events and activities, and amenities like state-of-the-art fitness centers, onsite hair salons and barbershops, and beautifully landscaped grounds with plenty of access to nature. To get a feel for what top-notch senior living communities offer, read our blog, “Top Qualities of the Best Retirement Communities in Michigan.”
4) Should the senior living conversation include care options?
Yes! Even if a senior is healthy and active now, different care options should be discussed as early as possible so the entire family knows what’s available and how the loved one feels about each. It’s also important to note that waiting until an emergency occurs to look for a senior living community may not be the ideal choice because the best communities often have waiting lists, so moving to independent living early on is not only a great way for seniors to stay healthy and active it also gives them priority status when a move to assisted living or memory care is needed. So, during the senior living conversation, it’s important to consider “what if” scenarios and create a plan before the need arises. For an overview of what types of senior living care are available our blog, “Michigan Senior Living: The Complete Guide for 2022” is an excellent resource.
A successful senior living conversation offers not only solutions but peace of mind for seniors and their families. For more information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.