Start the conversation:
Get your family involved in discussions about senior living

By Jeffrey R Gochoco, Director of Marketing & Sales, Sierra Winds

When is the best time to start talking with your family about senior living options? The honest answer is: Before you think you need to talk.

All too often, people delay the discussion until there’s cause for concern, perhaps after a fall or a medical scare. By taking your time to explore senior living options, visit communities, and plan for downsizing, you might have to make a hurried decision based on immediate needs and available options. A better (and more positive) approach is to get the ball rolling now when there’s no rush.

How do you start that conversation with your family?
According to an article from the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), almost 60% of families say they’re uncomfortable talking about age-related issues. So, if you’re a little hesitant to start the conversation, you’re not alone. Nevertheless, it’s an important conversation to have. Here are some ways to get the conversation started:

  • Take the initiative. Invite your family to get together so you can talk about the future. Let them know that there’s no cause for concern. Tell them you want to keep this conversation positive, so you can all explore options that are best for both you and your family.
  • Tell them what you’re feeling. Share why you want to plan for the future from a personal standpoint. If you’re worried about the future, share that. If you want freedom from taking care of your home, share that as well. If you’re feeling isolated and bored, make sure they know that, too.
  • Share your “dream scenario” in terms of your lifestyle. Do you want to live independently for as long as possible in your current home, or in a senior living community? Do you have ideas about the best ways to achieve that goal—whether through wellness activities, healthy diet, or an active lifestyle?
  • Ask for help exploring your options. Start visiting senior living communities and ask for family members to join you if possible. Or, if your family lives in another city, ask them to visit communities in their area—so they have an understanding of the various options available. (Make sure everyone understands the difference between independent living, assisted living and nursing care.)
  • Discuss finances. Let your family members know where you stand financially, so you can all have a clear picture of how to plan for the future. Review investments, insurance policies, and estate plans. While you’re at it, this is a good time to make sure you have a living will, durable power of attorney, and updated will.
  • Make sure your family knows that you are planning ahead for you…and them. Most adult children worry about their parents. By establishing a plan for the future, you are relieving them from having to make potentially rushed and emotional decisions in the future.

Overall, remember that this isn’t just one conversation. Plan to have numerous conversations as you zero in on the best option for your future. You might be surprised that getting your family involved will be a positive experience for everyone involved—bringing you closer together, sharing ideas, and looking positively toward the years ahead.

To learn more about the possibilities for independent senior living at Sierra Winds, call (623) 977-0807. We welcome you and your family to join us for a tour and complimentary lunch in the Sierra  Bistro.