Advice for Tough Conversations with Aging Loved Ones

Many seniors are hesitant to move from their homes, where they may have lived independently for decades, to assisted living centers.

When you have the difficult conversations on this topic, communicate clearly while respecting your loved one’s thoughts and feelings.

Your loved ones probably have preconceived notions about the disadvantages of assisted living; make sure they’re aware of the advantages too. These advantages include immediate access to medical care, a social network and far fewer chores. Residents still have the power to choose how they spend their time and how they furnish and decorate their space.

If your loved one is still reluctant, talk about your feelings and observations using “I” statements. For example, “I’ve noticed that moving around is getting harder for you, and I worry about what might happen if you fall.” Keep the focus on what would be best for him or her.

Suggest contacting a local senior living placement company, like Senior Care Lifestyles, to schedule tours of communities and answer any questions, concerns, fears and misconceptions, such as the misbelief that assisted living is the same as a nursing home. They can also discuss alternative options for modifying the home and for in-home care services and other resources they may need.

Throughout this process, honor your loved one’s self-determination to remain independent. You can’t snap your fingers and magically change anyone’s mind. If this person repeatedly refuses, you may need to put the conversation on hold. Restart it when an opportunity arises (for example, if your parent complains about being lonely).

Unfortunately, a crisis such as a fall or other injury may be the only thing that can change your loved one’s mind. However, they need to be aware that oftentimes a crisis eliminates options due to changes in health care needs. Present assisted living as a way to prevent the crisis from reoccurring and ease the worries of the entire family.

Your loved one is facing one of the hardest decisions of his/her life. Above all else, be gentle and patient with everyone, including family members, involved in this difficult decision-making situation.

Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Owner, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) & Assisted Living Placement Specialist - Senior Care Lifestyles, LLC provides compassion, guidance and recommendations to families faced with transitioning a loved one into Assisted Living, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care, Skilled Nursing, Temporary Respite Care or a Continuous Care Retirement Community. Senior Care Lifestyles was founded in 2014 by Deborah Bakalich, a Certified Senior Advisor and graduate from both Towson University and Stevenson. Senior Care Lifestyles is uniquely positioned as a local (not National) Maryland based placement firm familiar with Maryland senior care facilities and in-state financial assistance programs for senior residents. They meet personally with each family to understand the seniors care needs including medical, personal lifestyle preferences, budget, religion and desired geographic location. They pride themselves in locally guiding and educating families through the entire maze of senior living options available and will schedule tours on behalf of the family and accompany the family on visits of communities. They are passionate and committed to finding the perfect match to call home and stays with the family throughout the entire process, every step of the way, until a decision is made, and the senior is safely moved into their new home. Senior Care Lifestyles can also provide the family with trustworthy, vetted, and reputable experts to assist with the transition for organizing, packing, moving, sale of real estate, estate planning, legal services, and determining eligibility for State, Federal and Veterans Benefits to assist with care costs. Deborah is a proud member of the Maryland Senior Resource Network (MSRN) where she has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Organization, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Mid-Atlantic Network Group and a member of the Business Opportunity Network (BON).

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