Is it time for your loved one to think about retirement home living? Let’s talk.
Speaking with a loved one about retirement home living options is complex on a number of levels. Fundamentally, you’re asking someone to leave behind their home – the lifestyle they’ve known their entire adult life – for community living and resident care. Even if the time is right for this change, you’ll need to be sympathetic to the person’s pride during the discussion.
Everyone is different, and the prospect of care homes might seem more off-putting to some than others. In any case, there’s really no telling how a person will react. That’s why it’s best to foster a loving, healthy discussion about retirement home living, and help them make the transition as gracefully as possible.
Is it the time right for retirement home living? Recognizing the signs
Knowing when to speak with a loved one about retirement home living can be difficult, especially when you don’t spend every day with the person. However, there are a number of clear signs that family members can keep an eye out for.
If an everyday activity (such as cooking, dressing, cleaning, and doing laundry) seems too much to handle, now might be the time to gently bring the subject up. In terms of physical health, a simple hug can reveal a lot about a person’s condition.
If the senior feels noticeably thinner and frailer, they might be in need of long term care. The same can apply to aged persons who have gained noticeable weight, since conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s can cause a person to overeat, forgetting what they’ve eaten earlier that day.
Don’t delay the discussion about care services
Clearly, this is a difficult conversation to have, and delaying it until absolutely necessary can be tempting. However, the longer an elder in need of care services goes without it, the more harm they can cause themselves in the future.
Family members worry about insulting their loved one’s sense of pride and independence when discussing retirement home living offers, which is understandable. Still, what’s at stake here is the person’s health and well-being, today and in the long term. If the signs are clear, it’s important to act.
Be tender and caring with your elderly parent
When it’s finally time to sit down and have the talk, do so with a heart full of empathy. As difficult as it is for you to bring this topic up, it’s likely harder for the senior. After all, they could see retirement home living as a total loss of their freedom.
No senior wants to feel like a burden on their family members and making your concerns overly clear won’t be of any help. Rather, if this is the right transition for a person to make, it should be made as smoothly as possible through the help of their loved ones.
Give them a big hug and listen to what they have to say. Most importantly, ensure them that their input will be central to all major decisions moving forward.
Have retirement community options ready
There’s a chance that this conversation might not be as dramatic as projected, which is great news for everyone. In this case, showing the senior brochures of their retirement home living facility options can be a great way to get them excited for the next major step in their lives.
On the other hand, if the senior didn’t take the suggestion so well, flipping through brochures replete with happy retirement residents looking perfectly at home might get them to change their mind.
Even if the compassionate approach doesn’t appear to be working, it’s best to come prepared with examples of care homes to show to your loved one should the opportunity present itself. Who knows – after you leave, your loved one might endeavour to flip through the brochures themselves if only to have a look at the suites their prospective retirement home living offers.
Don’t give up, your senior might change their mind
Too much insistence in this regard won’t likely do your loved one any service. However, even if the senior was initially put off by the idea of long term care, families must stay motivated and stick around as a supportive figure in their lives. After all, they need to make the decision for themselves.
Now that you’ve started the discussion, you’ve done the main part – the rest is up to them. If it’s clear that the senior does require some assistance, they’ll come around eventually.
In a perfect world, there would be no need for family members to have this conversation with their elderly beloved. No one wants to challenge a loved one’s sense of independence regardless of how evidently dependent they might be.
At Visavie, we understand the delicateness with which this process must be handled, and we’re here to help you get the conversation started.
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