How to deal with a resistant parent
If attempts to start a conversation about moving your aging loved one to a senior living community are met with responses like, “I don’t need any help,” or “I’m just fine where I am,” here are three tips on what to do and three tips on what not to do when your parent pushes back.
Understand their perspective.
Moving can be frightening. Remember when you first moved away to college or a new city? For aging parents, moving to a senior living community is a big change and an even bigger step out of their comfort zone. By empathizing with their situation, you are better able to approach the experience from their perspective.
Emphasize your aging loved ones’ health.
Make it readily known that the well being of your aging parent is your top priority. If you are concerned about his or her health, eating habits, or social interactions, reiterate your intentions and focus on the positive benefits a move to a senior living community can have on his or her quality of life.
Find a place that fits.
Research. Research. Research. One of the most important aspects of helping an aging parent move from his or her current home to a retirement community is making the move appealing. Maybe your parent is looking for a place with plenty of activities and events or perhaps he or she will not consider moving to a community without a beautiful garden and plenty of walking space. Consider these important factors for your parent when researching senior living options. After researching and identifying a senior living community your parent is interested in, plan a visit and ask as many questions during the visit and tour as it takes for your parent to feel comfortable.
Your parent will be less than enthused about a potential move to a senior living community if your focus is on the negative reasons for the move. Emphasize this is an opportunity to make new friends, instead of focusing on how the community may be in a different neighborhood than his or her current home. Remind your aging parent or loved one that he or she will have chef-prepared meals, instead of criticizing his or her current eating habits. Focusing on the positive aspects of a retirement community move is a great way to reframe the conversation.
Make quick decisions.
It is important to start the conversation about moving to a senior living community early. A gradual adjustment to a new reality is always better than a rushed decision. Give your aging loved one plenty of time to acclimate him or herself to the possibility of moving to a new home. While the process may take longer, you will find the experience much more enjoyable for your aging loved one.
Helping your aging parent move to a senior living community is a team effort. Whether you enlist the help of your siblings, extended family members, or friends, display a united front to let your aging parent know everyone he or she cares about also cares about him or her. Have any of your aging parent’s friends recently moved to a senior living community? Use their experience to display senior living in a positive light with a personal touch.
If your aging loved one is not immediately open to a senior living community move, it does not mean he or she will never embrace the idea, it just may take a little bit more time to assuage concerns. Above all, you want your aging loved one to know you are acting with his or her best health and interests in mind.
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