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Tips for Having the Conversation With Your Loved One

Come prepared for the conversation

People often make the mistake of bringing up senior living without first becoming familiar with what all the term entails, how much it costs, or which lifestyle option is best suited for their loved one. Discussing senior living without being prepared can cause resistance on the part of your loved one and even create more questions than it answers. Please take a look at the previously listed levels of care above to help understand the differences between independent and assisted living as you are making your decision.

Reviewing services and amenities is important in making sure that your loved one can lead a comfortable and fulfilled life. Be sure to check out photo galleries and social media pages for a candid look into the kind of lifestyle available. Be sure to read online reviews, too, to get a glimpse into what other families have experienced.

We know these can be tough conversations. Our team wrote this blog, How to Bring Up Senior Living, to be a resource to you and your family.

Be Proactive

It would be nice to remain autonomous for the entirety of one’s retirement, but the truth is that most of us will experience changing needs that require an additional level of support at some point or another. Because of this, it is recommended to bring up the subject before it is needed. This can eliminate some of the tension from the conversations later on when the need becomes more pressing. It is recommended that adult children ask their parents about their future plans and wishes so that they can be sure to take the right actions should something ever happen. Be sure to express that it is a decision to be made together and that their wishes, wants and needs are important. No one likes being told what to do, especially when it comes to major life milestones. By creating an ongoing conversation both parties have the time and space to formulate ideas and arrive at the best decision together. What’s more, you will be on track for a smooth transition when the time comes.

Having the Conversation With Family Members

It’s important for families to get siblings on the same page about the next steps to help ease the transition and minimize conflict. This can be a sensitive and complicated task, whether due to volatile relationships, geographical distance, differing opinions or varying relationships or facetime with the person. Oftentimes, one sibling winds up becoming the effective caregiver for the person—generally the one that lives nearest or spends the most time with them. They are often the person who first realizes the need for a lifestyle transition. This can be difficult to communicate to siblings who are less involved, live farther away, or are less likely to perceive or understand the need.

The caregiver should call a family meeting to address the topic and prepare by gathering anecdotes or evidence to support the proposition. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a heart-to-heart, but many are not so fortunate. If things get heated and anecdotal evidence isn’t enough, it can be useful to involve an objective third party such as a geriatric care manager. This person’s role is to use their education and experience in aging services to assess a senior’s individual situation and guide them and their family to the best outcome. They are generally social workers or licensed nurses who have no allegiance to senior care organizations and whose job it is to provide ideal outcomes rather than to promote one single solution. This can help the caregiver sibling credibility if their family member does indeed need a new situation, or conversely, it can reveal that the next step is not necessary at the current juncture. This way, each party is motivated to participate on the process.

What People Are Saying …

I would like to commend Cristwood Park staff on their efforts to protect themselves and their residents from COVID. It’s been a concern of ours since last March and we have been relieved to see so few cases in the Cristwood Park community. I would like to thank the staff and leadership for their diligence in maintaining good protocols throughout this pandemic.

CWP Family Member

CRISTA has been a warm, friendly atmosphere to be a part of these past two years. It encourages friendships that encourage a pleasant living environment.

Marty Victor, CWP

Exceptional personalized holistic care. Helps keep Mom’s mind active and she flourishes with the nurturing care. Especially of value currently given the COVID restrictions. We are genuinely pleased with our mom's care.

Resident's Daughter, Memory Care

Thinking back on all the great care you and your team have given her at CRISTA, we thank you for all that. I am sure it made a difference in the quality of her life.

I appreciate the personal relationship I have with the staff and the good communication they give me.

I am so stunned by all the amazing people who live at CRISTA. The depth of their stories, their experiences are so powerful. They are fascinating and I learn something new every day! Such a wealth of intellect, experiences, and fun loving people. I love living here.

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