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Talking to your loved one about their his or her future can be a delicate undertaking. It can feel uncomfortable to start looking after the people who once took care of you. Many people don't want to consider moving until pushed by life-changing circumstances — whether an illness, the loss of a spouse, or the demands of home maintenance. Regardless of the motivation, talking to your loved one about a move requires a certain level of sensitivity.
Here are a few thoughts to help your loved one better understand the benefits of a move.
What's the first thing many older adults say when asked if they're interested in moving to a retirement community? "I'm not ready yet!" And what's the most common thing they say once they move to a community? "I wish I'd done this 10 years ago!"
So start your discussions early. Use anecdotes or personal events as a catalyst for discussion. Even if your loved one says they "aren't ready yet," opening the lines of communication will plant a seed and lay the groundwork for future discussions.
Answer their concerns with positives. If they say they aren't ready to downsize, explain that a smaller residence will give them the freedom to focus on doing things they want to do instead of things they have to. Remind them that a private residence is just that — they also have access to the entire community's common spaces.
Home repairs and housework will be things of the past. A whole new array of interesting pastimes and new friends will await. Wellness programs will keep them at their best. Trips to shopping destinations and restaurants will be everyday events.
Encourage them to make a decision when they have the power to determine their future — and enjoy all the amenities a community might offer. By waiting, they limit their options — and risk leaving the decision to someone else.
Help your loved one understand the differences between various senior living options, including a Life Plan Community like Friendship Village. Share your concerns about their future, but don't tell them this is what they should do. It is ultimately their decision, and pressuring them is not likely to yield good results.
Don't just tell your loved one they should consider moving, show them how it can benefit them. Do your research. What kind of community would best suit their preferences — and pocketbooks? Would they prefer a community grounded in a religious tradition? A brand-new community or an established one with a good reputation? What best suits their financial goals — a refundable entrance fee, a rental arrangement, or a Life Care contract? Check out the amenities, the contracts and the promise of care. If a Life Plan Community is an option, look for one that's accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
Some communities — like Friendship Village — may guarantee your loved ones a home for life and discounts on care services, while others are pay-as-you-go. Some include access to different levels of care, while others may require your loved ones to move elsewhere if they ever need additional help. There's a lot to learn, and you can help your loved one make sense of all the choices. Call the communities you want to explore for a tour and request a brochure. Check out their websites to learn more. You can tell a lot about an organization by how it presents itself. Download a comparison sheet here.
If your loved one is adamantly opposed to even exploring a move, agree to disagree. Then review your approach. Would the idea of moving be more palatable coming from someone else? Consider talking to one of their trusted friends or advisors about your concerns. Perhaps the friend could invite your loved one to accompany him or her when they visit a community. Or, maybe the advisor could help your loved one understand the financial or lifestyle benefits of making a move. Another possibility: Ask a Residency Counselor at a community to invite your loved one to lunch and a tour at the community. Most will be more than happy to perform this service for you. Click here to schedule a tour at Friendship Village.
Your loved one could choose to move right away, or he or she may never agree unless circumstances force them into change. Regardless, it's important to respect their decision. Your relationship with your loved one is more important than being right. Another opportunity for discussion could be right around the corner.
Ready to take the next step? To learn more about how Friendship Village can help you and your loved ones Get Set 4 Life®, please call us at 847-490-6271 to speak with a Friendship Village Residency Counselor.