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How to Navigate Tough Conversations with Aging Parents

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conversation with aging parents

The decision to move an aging relative from their longtime home into a retirement community can be one of the most difficult decisions a family can make. Some families avoid the conversation altogether, often waiting until an emergency arises to move their loved ones into a retirement community.

However, finding the right retirement community for your aging parents can be one of the most caring acts you can do for them. Living in a retirement community can provide your loved one an improved quality of life from both a medical and social perspective. By waiting until a crisis occurs to move, your parent may miss out on some of the great benefits of living in a retirement community.

When the time comes to talk with your aging parents about moving to a retirement community, it’s important to know how to approach the topic appropriately. By following these tips for navigating tough conversations with aging parents, you can ensure that both you and your loved ones feel involved, understood and appreciated throughout the entire process.

Make sure everyone is on the same page

Before you begin planning a conversation with your parents about moving to a retirement community, it’s essential that you communicate the idea to other family members. Family can be instrumental in the decision-making process; be sure all siblings are comfortable giving their parent the same message. This way, you can avoid ambiguity and disagreements concerning this important decision.

Approach conversations with care

The best way to ensure a positive outcome from difficult conversations is to plan what you will say in advance. Be sure you’ve done appropriate research on different types of living options such as independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing so you can address any questions and concerns. Always use a positive tone of voice and be patient with your loved ones, making sure they feel understood and respected throughout the conversation.

Make future plans an ongoing discussion

Don’t feel pressured to make a decision after just one conversation. Instead, make discussions about future plans an ongoing conversation, allowing your loved ones time to process the change and do some research of their own. By starting the retirement community search early, you and your family can avoid feeling rushed to make a decision. Many retirement communities offer living options on a continuum of care, allowing older adults to transition seamlessly from independent living to assisted living as their care needs change.

When it comes to navigating difficult conversations with your parents, preparation is key. By having these difficult yet essential conversations early, you and your family can work together to find a retirement community that is the right fit for your parents.

Written by Bethany Lutheran Village

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