When discussing the move to senior living with your older loved ones, it’s important to be prepared. Your mom or dad will most likely have questions and objections related to the move. It’s a big decision and it is important they are involved!
Some of the most common objections are:
“I’m not ready!” Most people are in denial about their age and mortality; it is hard to accept reality. Our minds and spirits don’t always match our aging process, plus many may view the move as “giving up.”
Overcome Mom or Dad being in denial by talking to them openly and having a dialogue. Be committed to keep having this conversation, it will need to happen more than once. Be honest about life circumstances and diagnoses, while reminding them aging is a gift.
“Retirement communities are where you go to die!” Many older adults associate the term senior living with the nursing homes their grandparents and parents experienced. They may also have the misconception that retirement communities are boring and “filled with old people.”
Challenge these common misconceptions by touring nearby communities and see for yourselves! When you tour a senior living community you are able to see the amenities and activities offered for yourself. Take the time to speak to residents while you’re there so you can understand the true experience of the retirement community. It’s also great to visit the community’s website to read testimonials and watch video stories. Ask the community if you and your loved one can attend some of the activities and eat on campus before you make your decision.
“I can’t afford it!” Many older adults are concerned about finances. They may believe they can’t afford to live in a retirement community or are afraid to spend their money. Many seniors forget about the current and future costs of living in their house.
When speaking about financial concerns it’s important to take a few things into account. First, compare the true costs of living at home versus the costs of senior living. Make sure to consider the potential need for renovation and future in-home care if health needs change. Second, find out if your loved one has long-term care insurance — this could help pay for senior living, depending on the type of community. Third, approach your conversations with respect and understanding. Remind your loved one their home is not their biggest asset, their health is their biggest asset. Why spend money on their home and not their health and well-being? Encourage your loved one to give him or herself the gift of being safe, happy and healthy.
“I’ve lived in my home for more than 40 years! I have too much stuff to move!” The thought of leaving a long-time home can be paralyzing or overwhelming emotionally. Packing and moving possessions can also be potentially too physically demanding for some people.
Think of the moving process as rightsizing, not downsizing and remind your Mom or Dad one they don’t need to move alone. You and other loved ones can help sort through possessions. This objection is usually more about the memories than the items alone. There are also professional senior move managers who can help or even complete the process for you, including packing up, moving and unpacking!
Lastly, don’t wait until a crisis hits and the choice to move to a senior living or assisted living community isn’t yours, or theirs, to make. Start talking with your older loved ones now and schedule tours so all of you can see senior living for yourselves.