How to Talk to Parents About Senior Care

Are you beginning to consider retirement community options for your parents? Having that conversation with them is not always easy, but Pat M. Irwin, President of ElderCareCanada offers advice based on her experience working with families just like yours.

Having the talk

Manage expectations

Contrary to what you might think, families don’t just make retirement decisions over a cup of tea. It’s normal to have discussions, arguments and every variation of emotion. While it’s one of the most important talks in a person’s life, there’s no need to dread the retirement care talk if you keep these tips in mind.

1. Do your homework and research

  • Discover your parents’ needs by learning about their typical day, week and month to see what’s working and where assistance or improvements could make a difference.
  • Review their financial resources, including the market value of the family home, to see what price points they can afford for housing, care and other support.
  • Research the options for retirement housing and care, develop a short list and personally check out each option. Firm knowledge of these facts will help you overcome the inevitable objections. Explore and compare the featured retirement homes or home care services here on Comfort Life.

Frame your attitude

Avoid panic, judgment and criticism. You are not parenting your parents—you’re partnering with practical support based on your research to provide them with the best retirement possible.

2. Create a retirement care strategy

Using your research and positive attitude, develop a strategy of tasks and checkpoints: plan the work and work the plan. An example might be research three retirement homes this month, visit two and book a trial stay the following month, and make a decision within four months. A plan with target goals is something everyone can readily relate to.

Ensure you ask the right questions when you visit a retirement community for a tour. Download our free eBook The Ultimate Retirement Tour Checklist for 153 questions you should ask to make sure you have the information you need to make the right choice.

Involve all players
Be sure that all relevant parties—siblings and their spouses—are on the same page for a united front.

3. Start with a small step

Try implementing something simple as a first step, such as transportation assistance. Build on that success to gain credibility as a partner in your parents’ well-being.

Make sure there are no surprises

Give your shortlisted retirement home or home care options a trial run. Go for a complimentary lunch, book a one-week stay at a retirement home, talk to other residents and staff, find friends who’ve made the switch and get their best advice.

Trying to choose between home care and a retirement community? Get the facts you need. Download our free eBook The Cost of Living at Home for detailed financial information and advice.

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