When it comes to an assisted living program, a major stressor for many families comes near the beginning of this process: Speaking with a loved one about entering such a program. It’s natural for many seniors to resist this kind of move, as it tugs at pride and sense of independence, and family members need to approach these situations with care and understanding.
At Legacy Village in Provo, we can help with strategies and approaches for these conversations. For many families, the holidays are a good time for these talks – families are often together, and the warm spirit of the season can lessen tension. Here are some tactics for speaking with a loved one about senior living around the holidays.
Select someone in the family who is best able to remain calm and unbiased, and designate them as a facilitator. This person keeps the discussion on track if it ever gets off the rails, and helps make sure everyone’s voice is heard – particularly the senior loved one, who can often be minimized in these situations. If no one in the family seems a good candidate for this role, consider a neutral party like an elder care mediator.
Before the meeting, the facilitator should ask everyone to send them a list of concerns or topics to be discussed. Use this to create an agenda that makes sense, and share this with the entire family. Consider things like health conditions, medications, finances and other important factors.
It can be challenging to remain objective during these kinds of talks, especially with family with varying levels of direct involvement with the senior involved. The facilitator should be focused on keeping everything as realistic as possible.
In today’s modern age, distance alone shouldn’t keep a family from having these kinds of important talks. Consider a webcam or Skype if not everyone can be in the same place.
Down related lines, make sure everyone is included with the conversation, and that it doesn’t devolve into old sibling rivalries or sniping. Empower the facilitator to cut off those who are unfairly dominating conversation.
Before the meeting ends, create a plan of care and a list of tasks – even if the final decision does not include senior living care. Maybe tasks include further research or phone calls, or narrowing down potential community options. If needed, agree to meet again in the near future, and arrange any times or dates needed here.