Sarah Silva
In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the simple concepts to consider when speaking to a parent or any other senior loved one about the future. Especially when this future may involve changes to daily life to bring some much-needed assistance to a senior in your life, such conversations can often be challenging – and knowing how to approach them while respecting your loved one is very important. 

At Avamere at Mountain Ridge, our assisted living programs include not just daily services to all of our guests, but also themes like assisting seniors, family members and other caregivers with any transition to our community. Here are some other recommendations we often make to those who are looking to discuss the future, and possibly some uncomfortable subjects, with a senior loved one.

Focus on solutions, not problems

Taking a positive and solution-oriented focus is always important, especially when it comes to discussions about the future. It can be easy to get caught up in all of the potential problems that may arise as a senior loved one ages, but this will only make things worse. Instead, try to focus on potential solutions and what you and your family can do to make things better.

For instance, if you’re worried about your mom falling and injuring herself at home, talk to her about the idea of moving to an assisted living community. Assisted living is designed to help seniors with the activities of daily living, so she would have access to 24/7 care and assistance if she needed it. This would give you both peace of mind knowing that she’s being taken care of and that someone is always there to help her.

Listen more than you speak

It’s easy to want to jump in and take control when you’re worried about a loved one, but it’s important to remember that this is their life, not yours. Instead of telling them what they should or shouldn’t do, try to listen more than you speak. Ask questions about their thoughts and feelings on the subject, and really take the time to hear them out. Only after you’ve done this should you start sharing your own opinions.

Have next steps at the ready

You also need to be fully prepared before you have this discussion. This means that you should have a few potential next steps in mind, based on what your loved one says. For instance, if they’re resistant to the idea of moving to assisted living, you could suggest a trial period where they stay for a few weeks or months to see how they like it. Or, if they’re worried about the cost, you could look into financial assistance options like long-term care insurance.

The most important thing is to be respectful of your loved one’s wishes and feelings. They should always have a say in what happens, and you should never try to force them into anything they’re not comfortable with. Having an open, honest discussion is the best way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that you’re making the best decisions for your loved one’s future.

For more on how to discuss the future with loved ones, or to learn about any of our assisted living or memory care programs, speak to our caring staff at Avamere at Mountain Ridge today.