All you want for your aging parents is health and comfort. And you don’t feel comfortable with them living in the house they do now. How do you tell them?
Your parents may want to age in place, but their home doesn’t suit their daily living needs. They might not be able to walk up the stairs anymore. They might be spending too much physical energy and money completing daily tasks around the house. Or, they might not be maintaining it at all anymore.
For all these reasons, as their adult child, you strongly feel like they should live somewhere that offers independent and long term care. But telling your parents to move out of the house they’ve spent a decade or more in can be a tough conversation.
You may be feeling anxious about bringing this up. Your parents want to age in place and you want what’s best for them. You are not alone.
Most elderly parents want to age in place. In fact, according to a study by AARP, 87 percent of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. Among people age 50 to 64, 71 percent of people want to age in place.
The problem is that not all situations are safe for aging adults to stay. In-home care is a viable option for some, but not for all. That’s why the conversation around moving needs to start now. Below is a five- point guide to having a healthy, “come to Jesus” chat with your mom or dad about why it’s time to move.
1. Start the conversation now. It’s important to not wait to start talking about moving options for your parents. As time progresses, their medical and physical needs worsen. And it may take a few years of talking about it and finding the perfect new place before they agree. You can start the conversation by asking them if and how maintaining the house has been impacting their mental and physical health. Maintaining home care can be physically taxing, especially if your parents have back or joint issues. Bringing this up can open a window into getting more help around the house or other options of living.
2. Listen and be empathetic. Your parents have probably lived in the same house for decades. They have thousands of memories and a strong connection with it. It’s important to listen to them and to let them know you hear their side but also want the best for them. You can bring up the fact that the house may feel bigger and lonelier without their kids living in it. Senior living communities are a good chance for them to be social, make new friends, and be part of a community. You can also note it’s a good chance to find somewhere close to you and your family so you can visit frequently.
3. Be patient, but keep bringing it up. Time and consistency of the same message often helps during these types of conversations. The first time you bring it up might not result in them immediately agreeing, but as time goes on, they might be more open to it. If they don’t like the idea the first time you bring it up, bring it up again in a few months. Ultimately, you don’t want to be in a situation where you mention it one time, don’t bring it up years, and then one day tell them they have to move. They will feel blindsided, hurt, and potentially belligerent.
4. Get a neutral third-party, non-family member to help. One of the reasons these conversations don’t go well sometimes is simply because parents don’t want to listen to their children. Parents told you what to do and guided you throughout your whole life, and now the roles have reversed.
Sometimes that doesn’t sit well with elderly parents. Getting a doctor or social worker’s recommendation could assist in the conversation.
5. Visit senior communities or apartments with them. When you are with them, visit different options of assisted living communities or apartments so they can see it with their own eyes and picture themselves living there. Even if they have not agreed yet, visiting around and exploring the options out there can get them thinking, and possibly will become more open to the idea.
According to a study by NCOA.org, a top reason seniors want to age in place is because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of moving. That’s why senior downsizing specialists such as Francie Stavish and Associates, LLC make it their mission to assist in the transition.
When it does come time to move, please visit franciestavish.com to learn about our services or call 847- 498-6910 for information on senior downsizing services.
*This message is general advice and should not be treated as a medical recommendation.