Discussing a Move to a Senior Living Community with a Friend
Many of us have witnessed a friend, neighbor or work colleague who struggles with the aging process and maintaining their lifestyle due to changes in health or other circumstances. Starting a conversation about the challenges of aging can be awkward as it may be perceived by the listener as intrusive or even rude. But if you’re concerned about a friend’s safety and well-being, the alternative to not having the conversation could be dangerous.
The best time to have a conversation is before the situation becomes an emergency. Look for openings in conversations you have with an elderly friend. If they mention how climbing stairs is getting more difficult or how tired they are of maintaining their lawn or garden, ask if they’ve considered making a move to a senior living community.
Here are some tips on how to have a successful conversation with a friend about finding a living situation that suits their current and changing needs.
Accentuate the positive
Today’s senior living communities are not the nursing homes of a generation ago. The senior communities of today are active places where people in similar circumstances can interact with each other in a beautiful communal setting, attend exercise classes and numerous social events, join a book club, take a cooking class, and participate in numerous outings to museums, restaurants and sporting events.
Change is hard for most people and can be particularly hard when it means acknowledging getting older and having to adjust to new realities. When discussing the possibility of making a move, embrace a spirit of compassion and respect. Be willing to listen to your friend’s concerns. Ask questions about what they’re looking for in an ideal living situation and explore potential hurdles. While you may be primarily interested in their safety, they may be more interested in retaining their independence. Stay open and really listen to their concerns and then work with them to find a solution that meets everyone’s objectives.
You may feel that your friend is being overly resistant to what you feel is a logical solution. Consider how frightening it is for many older adults to talk about a future that may involve illness, decline, moving from home, death and dying. Once you understand what is underneath the resistance, you are in a better position to help move things forward in a gentle and caring way.
Provide ongoing support
Part of what may be holding your friend back is simply not knowing how or where to start. Offer to help them research various living options and offer to go with them to tour various communities. Help them look for financing options or offer to help them with finding a realtor to help them with the sale of their current home. Let your friend know you’re there to provide them with the support they need to live the life they desire.
Era Living is here to help
Since 1987, Era Living has been dedicated to fostering a healthy and engaging environment of holistic wellness, culture, warmth, and exciting social opportunities at all of its eight Seattle-area communities. To understand what makes our communities among Seattle’s best, please visit our website.