It can be difficult for an aging parent to accept that it’s time for them to move from their own home to the home of their adult child, a retirement village, assisted living or long-term care. According to AARP, over 80% of U.S. residents over 45 say they want to remain in their own homes even when they need assistance. Most seniors see moving from their home as a big step to losing their independence.
It’s best to begin this conversation with your parents, no matter their age, before a crisis situation. By keeping the lines of communication open over time this can be a shared decision between parents and their children. Here are some communications tips to keep in mind as you talk with your parent about them moving from their home.
- Respectful and regular conversations. Regardless of your parent’s age or health, it’s important to have respectful and regular conversations with them about their plans for the future. This authentic interest and involvement in their life will show them you love them and have a genuine desire for them to age gracefully in a caring community.
- Be their advocate. It’s important for your parent to see that you are their advocate and concerned about their health and safety. Have honest conversations with your parent that show you want to be a part of decisions throughout their aging process. If your parent is interested, set aside time to visit care options with them. Take the burden off your parent’s shoulders and do your own research on care options. [LINK TO BLOG POST CARE OPTIONS TO CONSIDER FOR AGING PARENTS] Ask your parent questions throughout the visits, such as “What do you think? Do you like it here?” Throughout the process of selecting a care option, be your parent’s advocate and ask many questions to determine if it is the right fit for your parent.
- Back off if needed. Some parents may completely refuse to entertain the idea of moving, but it’s important not to give up. Back off if needed, but don’t give up. Look for other opportunities to bring it up in conversation, such as, “It worries me when…”
- Involve siblings and health care providers. Siblings and health care providers should be involved in the discussion of your parent moving. It’s very important for siblings to be on the same page about your parent’s future home. One unwilling sibling can make it impossible to convince your parent. Also, a parent’s health care provider often will have more persuasion than an adult child. You can ask to attend a doctor appointment with your parent or call the physician’s office to have a note put in their file to discuss care options.
- Avoid other issues. Often conversations with parents about moving can bring up other family issues. If this happens, avoid these conversations and focus on what is best for your parent.
While it may take a lot of time and patience to convince a parent to move, there’s a great sense of peace for both the parent and adult child when you find and choose the right care option.