May 26

Establishing Relationships at a Parent’s Senior Living Community

When a parent makes a move to a retirement community, it often leaves adult children a little unsure about role they will play in their parent’s new life. In cases where a daughter or son has been involved in helping with day-to-day activities, such household chores or providing transportation to the grocery store, it can be especially confusing.

What types of help will you need to continue doing? Which ones will be turned over to staff? How can you keep a close eye on how a senior loved one is doing after the move?

Building a relationship with the staff at a parent’s senior living community is the best way to stay connected and involved.

Getting to Know the Team at a Senior Living Community

 Here are a few steps you can take to begin to build bonds with the staff at your parent’s new community:

  • Introduce Yourself: When you arrive at your senior loved one’s retirement community, don’t be in such a hurry to get to their apartment that you don’t visit with people along the way. Make a point of stopping to introduce yourself to staff members you pass along the way. Ask about their role with the community, what days and times they work, and even about their own family. Encourage the team members to keep in touch with you and let you know if there is something they see your parent needs or if there is a change in their health and wellness you need to know about.
  • Join Community Events: Make a point of attending events with your parent once or twice a month as your schedule permits. These casual settings give you the perfect opportunity to get to know the staff and other residents. Most senior living communities, like Era Living in Seattle, post the entire month’s activity calendars on their website. Use the online calendar to plan which activities you’d like to attend.
  • Follow Along on Facebook: Almost all senior living communities have joined Facebook. You can “Like” the community’s page to view the photos and follow various events and activities. It will give you something to talk about with your parent when you visit and with the staff.
  • Attend Care Conferences: Depending upon what level of care your parent needs, the senior living community might host a monthly or quarterly care conference. With your parent’s permission, you will likely be invited to attend. Try to listen to the conversation carefully and ask appropriate questions. Also take this opportunity to reinforce how much you appreciate the staff and the role they play in your loved one’s life.

Our final tip is to think of the staff at the senior living community as your partners. They can be your eyes and ears and offer input about how your senior loved one is when you can’t be there in person.