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  • Writer's pictureAmy Kalajian

How to Discuss Senior Living Options with Elderly Parents

Elderly parents' placement to a nursing home or assisted living facility is a big change in their lives. It’s always challenging to talk about this topic with them both for us and our parents. In this article, I want to share information that can help you navigate through this conversation. 


Before we get to how to approach the discussion let’s understand what are placement or senior living options that you may need to discuss with your parents. 


Fifty-three percent of adult children expect that discussing senior care options with their aging loved ones will be challenging. This is often because people naturally avoid topics that they fear, don't fully understand, or believe will lead to disagreements. Discussions about elder care might involve all three aspects. In fact, the issue is so daunting that more than half of older adults prefer death over moving to a nursing home. It's no surprise that this is a difficult subject to broach with our parents.




 Fifty-three percent of adult children expect that discussing senior care options with their aging loved ones will be challenging


What are the placement options?


Assisted Living


Assisted living is great for people who need a little help with everyday tasks but still want to keep their independence. They offer a mix of a home-like setting and health care services, making them a safe option for adults who might not be safe living by themselves. Generally, people in these communities get help with things like eating, bathing, and managing their medications, while also enjoying plenty of social activities and amenities to keep life enjoyable and engaged.



Nursing Homes


Nursing homes, or skilled nursing care communities, are perfect for seniors who need round-the-clock nursing care because of complicated health issues or chronic conditions that are too much for assisted living places to handle. These facilities are really good at providing personalized care and a living space for individuals with Alzheimer's, dementia, or similar conditions. With constant medical care from nurses, doctors, and other health professionals right on site, these communities offer strong support for residents with a variety of medical needs.


Boarding Care 


Boarding care homes strike a nice balance between independence and support. They're great for elders who like to do their own thing but also like knowing help is there if they need it. These homes provide a unique living situation where a caregiver is always available, around the clock, to provide care and assistance. Residents get to enjoy their own space and freedom, with the comfort of support whenever it's needed.


Memory Care


Memory care is a specialized type of care tailored specifically for individuals with memory-related conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. It goes beyond what typical assisted living facilities provide by offering a structured environment designed to address the needs of people with memory impairment.


How to approach the discuss senior living options with elderly parents


1. Initiate the discussion sooner rather than later


Starting the conversation early, when there is time to collect information and consider care options without the influence of pressure or strong emotions, can be extremely beneficial. The alternative is having to do it when circumstances are forcing it. Being forced to make a decision about placement of an aging loved one urgently—due to a medical crisis, the loss of a spouse, or financial difficulties—can be more daunting as it often involves heightened emotions.


Elderly parents may have many fears and concerns. After all, it's one of the biggest changes in their lives. In addition to that, the pandemic has left many older adults feeling anxious or unprepared for future uncertainties. This is due partly to actual issues, and partly to the increased negative publicity around nursing homes and retirement communities. Financial and emotional concerns may complicate their situation. Therefore, engaging in these discussions sooner rather than later can enhance feelings of security and readiness.


2. Have face-to-face conversations when possible


It's really important to have these conversations in person. When you talk face-to-face, your parents can truly feel how much you care and understand how thoughtful you are about the decision. It's tougher to connect and read each other's emotions over the phone or on a video call, and they might find it easier to close off. Plus, meeting in person is a way to show your respect for your aging parent.


Face-to-face conversations also help to prioritize active listening and let your parents feel heard as they make a decision. Their worries might seem irrational or emotional, but from their perspective, they're completely valid. It’s important to respect that.


3. Take your time and be prepared for multiple conversations


Do not rush it. As mentioned multiple times in this article, it’s a significant change for the elderly parents and it’s important to give it time. Expect to have multiple conversations and let them process the previous discussion.


4. Schedule a visit to a senior living community


Scheduling a visit to a senior living community can significantly ease discussions about future living arrangements with elderly parents. Seeing the community firsthand dispels fears and misconceptions, providing a tangible sense of what life there can be like. 


This exposure helps alleviate anxieties about losing independence and gives a realistic view of the activities, amenities, and care available. It also allows parents to meet staff and residents, adding a comforting human element to their considerations



5. Acknowledge their autonomy in decision-making


Allowing parents to make their own decisions regarding their living arrangements and care respects their autonomy and dignity. It honors their ability to make informed choices, which is vital for maintaining their self-esteem and mental health.


Being actively involved in decision-making empowers older adults, helping them feel valued and in control, which is especially important as they navigate the challenges associated with aging, such as physical health declines or reduced independence.


6. COVID topic may come up



When discussing living arrangements with parents, it's important to be prepared for COVID-19 to come up in the conversation. The pandemic has significantly influenced opinions on nursing homes, with 57% of older adults stating that COVID-19 has affected their willingness to consider living in such facilities and 71% of older adults express a reluctance to live in nursing homes in the future. These statistics highlight the importance of addressing safety concerns and discussing how nursing homes have adapted to the pandemic to ensure the health and well-being of their residents.


How Do Placement Agencies like Remedy Cares help?


At Remedy, we understand the crucial importance of finding the perfect home for you or your loved ones. We take great care to meticulously evaluate every aspect of your needs and financial situation to ensure that we match you with the best community possible. Our comprehensive approach involves assessing medical requirements, lifestyle preferences, and budget to recommend the most suitable facilities. We also facilitate tours, help with negotiations and paperwork, and provide follow-up services to ensure the chosen community continues to meet your needs. 

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