A discussion with a parent about an option to move where they are safe and well cared for is one of the foremost problematic dialogs.
The First Hurdle
Opinions will differ…siblings, a parent, trusted family members, and friends either heighten the negatives of moving or support the positive aspects of a transition. Hopes of a friendly conversation may be met with a parent’s definitive “no” and here the challenge begins.
Keep an open mind and remain calm when the opposition is voiced. There will be many alternatives to consider before the involved parties arrive at a consensus. You need to be the “calm in the storm” when necessary.
Right Here, Right Now
Recognize your parent’s current needs. How have their Activities of Daily Living (bathing, toileting, dressing, mobility, medication management) changed? Is there a noticeable decline in personal hygiene, diet or socialization? Bring these concerns to the conversation. Knowing what is entailed in their daily habits helps support suggestions when visiting with them about a change in lifestyle.
Engage an expert such as a Bridge to Better Living Transition Consultant to help in the research. A trusted third party working for you allows the focus to remain on your parents and will “de-stress” the navigation of Senior Living. Information gathered with an expert ahead of time furnishes the answers to questions and facilitates opening a conversation with your parents.
A Transition Consultant will discuss the advantages and disadvantages your parents may have when transitioning to another lifestyle. They know the communities fitting your parent’s wants and needs. Confidence builds when learning the appropriate choices from an unbiased expert. Navigating every community without assistance from someone knowledgeable in Senior Living is stressful, confusing and tiring.
No one wants to feel they are losing their independence, and no one wakes up in the morning wanting to move. Expect some push-back. Ask if a power of attorney for both health and finances has been appointed. Encourage parents to have a will in place and share where important documents are kept. Opportunities to further conversations surface when these steps are in place.
Parents may perceive leaving their current home as “giving up” and being closer to death. Contrary to this belief, Seniors who move where peer support and/or medical staff are available to have been proven to live an average of seven years longer than expectancy. Parents should be a part of the decision making as long as they are able. They may be embarrassed their child wants to take care of them and stubbornly “dig in their heels.” A well informed third party is often the person they trust to have questions answered.
The Meaning of Care
Wedding vows are meaningful, and parents may refuse to let others take care of their spouse. Assure them caring for a loved one sometimes means depending on a professional to perform the cares.
Be honest with parents. If they are depending on you to care for them your role as a family member becomes one of caregiver, not son or daughter. Parents may find visits more enjoyable when they feel safe and secure in their surroundings. Share your feelings and stress the positives of a Senior Lifestyle change.
An Ongoing Conversation
Be prepared and stay engaged. It is common for important conversations to be intermittent, depend on timing and cause emotions to rise. Start discussions at different times and in various situations. Examples of others making successful transitions are helpful.
Remain calm and positive. Emotions are less likely to heighten if you are prepared, patient and kind. Place yourself in your parent’s shoes and attempt to understand their feelings. You only want the best for them. It is all about your parents.
Bridge to Better Living has a staff of expert Transition Consultants with a wealth of experience in the health field. Consultants focus on the needs and want of each individual client, are unbiased and understand the journey Seniors and families are taking when considering a transition into Retirement Living. Bridge to Better Living believes in Placement with Passion. Contact Bridge to Better Living now. Have them be a part of your conversation.