As family gathers to celebrate the holiday season…
you might find yourself knee deep in a discussion about plans for the future. Since this is a time of year to say goodbye to the events of 2018 and to welcome the hopes and dreams for a fresh new year, there might not be a better time to have this chat.
Discussing, reflecting and planning is the best way to ensure that wishes are heard and needs are met.
Senior living options may include staying in your current home with supports; moving to a senior living apartment; considering a retirement community; or transitioning to full-time care at a long term care home. Each of us have unique interests and needs, so it is important to understand the implications for each choice and how it may best suit your situation.
Studies demonstrate that seniors wish to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible and not to burden their family members. With the right supports and a great plan, this is highly conceivable. Furthermore, having the discussion now might avoid stressful, rash decisions later.
So, how should you approach this discussion? You might be a senior, looking to communicate with your children OR you may be a child, hoping to best support your parent(s) as they research and navigate options. Either way, here are some tips:
- Casual Chat – pick a time and setting that will foster a relaxed, positively charged conversation. You can open with something like, “This house has served our family well. Does it work for you/us to stay here? What are the options?”
- Consider all Aspects of Life – As we think about each element that comprises our day to day life, it is important that we seek to thrive, not just survive. Examine health; home; transportation, finances; connections; safety; supports and services; community; and partner or caregiver role. Find an expert in senior living that may know what is available in your community.
- Crisis Management – What would happen if a crisis were to happen? What kind of potential risks exist now? Who is available to support? What kind of services do we know about, what do we need to learn about? Knowing these answers will provide peace of mind and calm in a storm.
- Plan to Revisit this Topic – You may need to spread this sort of conversation and discovery out over a few chats. The key here is to practice patience. Maybe set a date and time for the next discussion, so that this tough topic doesn’t fade and remain unresolved.
There is no doubt that this may be awkward and unsettling to talk about, but it can also be comforting and reassuring. It may help your family move through transition with less stress, saving your energy for love and positivity.