Trying to talk to a parent about a possible move into a retirement/seniors residence is one of the most difficult caregiving challenges that adult kids face. Donna Cohen, Ph. D. a clinical psychologist and author of “The Loss of Self: A Family Resource for the Care of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders,” explains how most elderly people see themselves as proud survivors. They feel they have been through good times and bad times, so they can handle being on their own. Henry, an eldercare specialist who has been featured in Time, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, says many seniors “unrealistically believe they can take care of themselves for the rest of their lives.” It is normal for seniors to want to hold onto their independence for as long as possible. This is why convincing a parent to move into a retirement/seniors home can be frustrating and often seems nearly impossible. The eight steps below can serve as a useful guide for convincing your parents to move.
- Be proactive
Avoid having a long-overdue, awkward conversation with your parent. Instead, make a point of having regular conversations with your parents about what the future holds. As your parents age, make sure you frequently discuss the possibility of having to move them into a retirement/seniors residence at some point in the future. That way you are both prepared when the time comes.
- Be patient
Some elderly people are more comfortable talking about the ageing process while others find it much more difficult. Conversations may be repetitive and tangential, but if your parent is opposed to moving, make sure to ask the right questions to determine precisely why they are refusing.
- Offer options
This is where Lianas Services can be of assistance. We include both you and your parents in interviews, tours, and decisions about making the difficult move into a retirement or senior’s residence.
- Take it slow
Accept your limits and don’t rush your parents into anything. Let them make their own choices about moving in the end. That way they will feel like it was their decision and continue to feel independent and autonomous.
- Walk a mile in their shoes
Often adult children will fail to consider the move from their parent’s perspective. It is a very emotional time where parents perceiving the move to a retirement/seniors residence as the end of the road. It is very important for your parents to know you understand what they are going through.
- Stop the Stigma
There is often negative stigma surrounding retirement/seniors residence. Many elderly people see them as places “full of old people” and resist moving. It is important to speak highly of retirement/seniors residences. Explain how these residences allow seniors to thrive in an environment that is best suited for them and their needs. They won’t have the responsibilities of up keeping the home. They have specialists around should they require any medical attention or other assistance. They have choices of food, snacks and drinks of good quality and good nutritional value. And finally, they have an abundance of new friendship opportunities and new activities awaiting them.
- Teachable moments
Did mom slip and fall recently? Did dad forget to take his medication one morning? Use that as a springboard. Following incidences such as these, say something along the lines of, “That was a close call. It could have been much worse. Maybe we should start looking into retirement residences. We’d both feel better if you had people around to check in and make sure you’re doing okay.”
- Safety first
Stress that the decision to move into a retirement/seniors home stems primarily from a safety concern. You are worried mom or dad is putting themselves in danger by living independently and feel as if they require a little extra assistance. If your parent has severe mobility issues and is constantly confused and/or forgetful, their safety is at risk and they need assistance.
For further guidance and support, please contact Lianas Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-877-450-3365.