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How Do I Talk to My Parents About Senior Living?

happy senior lady talking with a younger woman in a cafe

We all want what’s best for our parents. But there may be a gap between your feelings and theirs about moving from their home to a senior living community. And who can blame them? They probably feel comfortable in their own home and aren’t ready to leave it anytime soon.

But what if Dad falls off a ladder trying to clean the gutters? Or Mom falls down the stairs carrying a basket of laundry? Or they have an accident while driving because their vision has deteriorated?

Whatever the case may be, it’s best to talk to your parents sooner about a potential move than later. The last thing you want is to wait until a serious health crisis occurs. Because then you’ll be the one who’ll have to scramble around and make decisions for them, and that’s not going to make anyone happy.

To prepare for a conversation with your parents about moving to a senior living community, consider the following tips:

Having the talk: four tips for talking to parents about moving to a senior living community

Prepare what you’re going to say.

Before you start the conversation with your parents, do your research to understand their options. Popular choices include rental communities, retirement communities with limited services, and Life Plan Communities.

A Life Plan Community like Regency Oaks offers a host of benefits, including freedom from home maintenance, more time and more opportunities to pursue your interests, more social opportunities, round-the-clock support, plus peace of mind that comes with having a smart plan for health care. Create a list of benefits for each option and why a senior living community would be a good choice for your parents — before you broach the subject.

Put yourself in their shoes.

Show your parents you understand what they’re going through by listening to their concerns. You’re asking them to consider a major life change, leaving everything they’ve worked for behind. Give them the time and space to communicate their frustrations and concerns.

Affirm their feelings with responses like, “I understand what you mean,” or “That makes sense.” Show empathy, not sympathy. No older adult wants their adult child to feel sorry for them. Rather, find out what’s important to them. What are their priorities? Phrase your concerns as questions, letting your parents draw their own conclusions.

Be ready for objections.

Don’t be surprised if a parent raises objections to a move when you start the conversation. It’s an emotionally charged subject. Common objections include, “I’m not ready yet,”I can’t afford it,” and “I don’t want to leave my home.”

Try to predict what objections your parents may make about moving to a senior living community, and then reframe the negative as a positive. For example, “Wouldn’t it be nice to let someone else do the shopping, meal planning and cooking for a change?” or “You’d have more time to do the things you enjoy.”

Don’t rush the decision.

Once you’ve started the conversation, give your parents time to soak it all in. While you’ve been considering this solution for some time now, this may be the first time they’ve thought about moving to a senior living community. They may have no idea about what a senior living community is really like these days. Plan to have multiple discussions, and allow them to come to their own conclusions. Let them know you’re ready to help them gather the information they need to choose the best place for them.

Learn more about life at Regency Oaks.

If you’re considering a move to a Life Plan Community, count on us for the answers you need. We can arrange a virtual or in-person meeting, discuss floor plan options and give you a tour, and explain the benefits of having a smart plan for health care from people you know and trust. To learn more, get in touch.