For our whole lives, our relationship with our parents is based upon them giving us guidance and transitions to us seeking their advice as we grow into adults. Fast forward a while and all of the sudden the roles are reversed. Sometimes slowly over time or perhaps what feels like overnight, the adult child is now the one giving their elderly parent guidance or advice. The child now sets the rules.
Hey mom, did you eat today? Hey dad, did you take a shower today? Did you take your medications? All of them? How did you take them when the bottle was never opened? Where are your clean towels? Obviously, I can keep sharing examples of questions posed from child to parent during this chapter of their lives.
Making a determination for safety purposes, to move your loved on into a senior living community is not easy. It stirs up many emotions that causes the child to question themselves on the basis of right or wrong. They may begin to judge themselves in a critical way about if they are making the right decision (either way).
I am not a believer in self judgement or evaluating these decisions strictly on a right or wrong scenario. Each decision is unique unto itself. Common factors involve family dynamics between relatives, the stubbornness of the parent not wanting to change their environment, finding the right “time” to move, costs, guilt, fear, regret and being overwhelmed.
You should understand these feelings are normal. That being said, it does not make it easier, yet you should not feel bad about having these emotions. There are several positive things a senior living community can create for your loved one. Before making a move to a senior living community, I highly recommend the following:
- Honest Conversations: Start talking about this possible scenario. Make it a conversation that includes your loved one.
- Allow them to express themselves equally: All the feelings I described above that you may have just pondering this decision, they may have in talking about it with you as well. Let them know that is okay. Make them comfortable with the conversation.
- Go Online Together: Do the research first and then sit down with them to continue this dialogue. On your phone or tablet, look at websites and show them visually what is out there.
- Discuss the Positives: Safety, security, privacy, making new friends, being more stimulated through dining experiences and daily activities.
- Make a Decision: At some point after all this dialogue, you need to make a decision. If the decision is to stay, create a plan everyone is comfortable with that addresses the concerns that prompted this discussion. If the decision is to move, let them know you will be with them every step of the way.
This entire process can cause agitation and frustration. Remember to approach this with patience and kindness. This is most likely new territory for everybody so the more you display patience and kindness towards the conversation, the better chance of having a positive experience with your parent.
Lastly, this is not a playbook for how all scenarios will play out. If you are going through this decision and are looking for advice or guidance, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.