The phone call conversation was very one sided. The daughter knew that her Dad had made a phone call to the son of a friend of his. She knew that her father had recently found out that one of his good friends and wife were being moved into a nursing home. The daughter kept thinking that the phone call had ended, but 30 minutes later she heard her dad make a couple of short comments.
Could he stop by the next day and visit the new nursing home residents?
Would his friend’s son call him when it would be a good time to visit?
When the phone conversation ended, the father was very quiet.
It was not until the next day when the daughter and her Dad were on a long car drive that the daughter began to understand the details from the call. Her Dad’s friend and his wife had indeed been moved into a new location. Visiting them, however, was not immediately recommended. The new nursing home residents were not yet used to their new home. In fact, everyone seemed to be hoping that this transition would go well. The previous location had asked them to leave after the husband gave the staff a difficult time.
A heavy silence filled the car as the daughter’s Dad explained that his friend had always been someone who had a difficult time managing his temper. The daughter did not know what to say. Her father’s temper was something she had worried about as well. When it was time for her Dad to move into retirement facilities, she wondered how well that transition would go.
Moving Into Retirement Facilities Can be a Major Transition for All Family Members
Why is it so difficult to talk about the things that are inevitable? Even when adult children know that the time is approaching when their parents may need to move out of their own home and into retirement facilities, the conversations about the move are still difficult.
Senior living communities and other retirement facilities advise future residents and their families to talk about plans and transitions long before they need to occur. Even with this advice, however, the conversations are difficult. Many adult communities draw attention to the need for having conversations and actually provide tips for approaching these difficult to talk about conversations. For example:
- Talk to parents in times when the conversation seems natural. For instance, when other friends are facing difficult decisions this might be a great time to have a conversation to find out what a parent’s ultimate desires are. Additionally, when family members visit other friends and relatives in assisted living facilities, this is a great time to talk about possible options for elderly care.
- Location is always important. Adult children should ask their parents where they would want to live. Do they want to live near their current home or would they prefer to live closer to children and grandchildren if possible?
- Cost is a concern for many aging parents. Many elderly people are looking at their retirement accounts and wondering if they will have the funds to stay in the places that they desire. These conversations are often more productive if they occur in a time when a decision is not eminent.
- Be as direct as possible. Although the conversation may be difficult, the experts recommend that adult children be as direct as possible. For example, if we notice that you are starting to lose your balance or are falling is that the time we should think about moving you somewhere to be safe?
- Are there things that you can do to allow your parents to stay in their own home longer? For example, would a weekly cleaning person allow your aging mother to stay in her house for another year? If meals are delivered once or twice a week would it be easier to know that an elderly parent is eating well?
- The average retirement age is 63. Many people do not move into a retirement community though until they are much older. Retirement, however, is a change that families also help deal with. Nearly 50% of retirees indicate that their retirement is happier than they expected. Maybe it is because families took the time to make plans early on.