Tips for Starting the Conversation with Mom or Dad about the Next Chapter
Posted on October 19, 2018 in Caregiving, Learning
While mom and dad may have worked hard all their lives with plans of enjoying retirement, their ideas of what that life will be like may be a little vague and highly flexible. Even if they have a vague idea of where their lives are going after retirement, they may have forgotten to clue you in. The best way to learn about future plans for your parents is to sit down and have the talk: where is the best place to live in retirement?
Before the Talks Begin
If you think that a retirement community is the best option for your parent, there are a few preemptive steps to take.
Before you bring up the idea of living in a retirement community with your parents, consider paying a visit to several communities on your own. Once you’ve explored the options available, narrow the field to three different communities before suggesting a visit or even bring up the topic of moving into a retirement community at all. Three is a manageable number, and it gives them the opportunity to be in charge of choosing between the three communities.
Getting the Conversation Started
Start the conversation slowly. Be gentle. Ask questions, but avoid making it sound like an interrogation or some sort of intervention. Suggest the wide variety of benefits that come with living in a retirement community, including many of the following:
· Opportunities to make new friends
· Safety in numbers
· Easier to combat loneliness
· Planned excursions and outings
· Daily activities
· Access to medical care
· Transportation for medical appointments, shopping, and other events
While talking, asking open-ended questions and discussing options is important in this conversation--but so is compassion. Try to view the subject from your parents’ viewpoints, and always be compassionate and sympathetic regarding their concerns.
Remember to focus some attention on things like privacy, independence, activities, amenities, and other issues that may concern your parents. Only consider retirement communities that promote independence and privacy among and for their residents, but also look for ample opportunities for activities and socialization.
Consider Soliciting an Advocate
If all else fails and you’re seriously concerned for your parents living on their own, consider discussing your concerns with a physician or other medical professional. He or she may have recommendations and may even be willing to discuss the issues with your parents.
Of course it’s important to find a physician who shares your views on the subject as it is related to your parents.
Starting the conversation is the hardest part. Once you’ve begun to discuss your parents’ wishes and needs openly, you can work together to find a common ground. Once you’ve made the suggestion, invite your parents to tour the three communities you think might be a good fit. Check out special events or programming to help mom and see for themselves what their next chapter can be like.