Getting Started

If you are just starting out on your journey to senior living, you probably have a long list of questions. Are there different types of senior living care? How much does it cost each month? What should you do if you know your loved one needs to make the move? How do you know what to look for when touring different communities?

The good news is that you’ve come to the right place. In this section you’ll find all of the basics, including answers to each of the questions above. You’ll also find some helpful tips and guidelines so that you’re armed with all of the info you need to make the best decision for you or your loved one. 

Find the Care Option That’s Right for You

Before you jump into your senior living journey, it might help for you to understand a little more about what all senior living encompasses. Many communities offer a variety of care options, ranging from independent and assisted living to dementia care and skilled nursing. Once you have a better idea of the different types of care, you can figure out if the time is right for you or your loved one to make the move—and then figure out how to find a place that meets your needs. Find A Community

Having the Conversation

Talking about senior living can be a sensitive subject whether you’re considering it for yourself, or you need to bring it up to a family member. It’s okay—in fact, sometimes it can be downright healthy—to admit  to ourselves that these kinds of life changes can be hard on everyone.

But here’s some good news: Many seniors find that a weight is lifted off their shoulders after they decide to embrace the next chapter of their lives, and for many, this conversation can be the start of that feeling of relief.

A Tough Topic to Tackle

One of the first things worth considering before actually having the conversation about senior living with a loved one is that it’s hard to predict how they will react to this kind of sensitive subject. If you’re a senior and want to talk to your children about your decision, they may disagree that the time is right for you to move. Or if you’re suggesting to a parent that it might be time to make a move, it’s always possible that you might catch them off guard.

But no matter how the conversation goes, it’s helpful to remember that both you and your family member are on a journey. And even if parts of the journey get difficult, the most important part is that you travel it together, striving for patience and grace, and determined to make it through together.

And more good news: A little planning goes a long way, and with the right preparation, and a few tools for how to have the actual conversation, you might just make it through the discussion a little bit easier. 

How to Get Your Move Started

You’ve done your research, toured several communities and decided where you want to enjoy the next season of life. If that’s you, give yourself a pat on the back! Now it’s time to get ready to move.

There’s more to moving into a new home than simply packing up your things and taking them from one place to another. Moving is usually an emotional process. If you recognize ahead of time that the transition will probably bring up some combination of hopeful and sad emotions, you can be better prepared to embrace this new chapter of life.

What you can do to start the moving process.
1. Visit the new apartment a few times before moving day so you can get a better understanding of how much space you really have. Make sure to take a tape measure so you can determine whether that beloved armchair is really going to fit in your new space.

2. Go through one room at a time when it’s time to start downsizing. Start with the least sentimental spaces and work your way to the more sentimental pieces. Once you start making decisions about things like that extra knife set and dusty old bicycle, you’re more prepared to tackle things like clothing and picture frames.

3. Sort items into boxes labeled “keep,” “donate,” “sell,” and “throw away.” Make sure the boxes are taped, labeled and ready to go before you start sorting through the house so you don’t lose your momentum along the way. You might even want to consider having a box dedicated to giving sentimental items to loved ones.

4. Take photos of the things you love but aren’t going to keep so you can reminisce without carrying the items to your new home. This is a great option for things like children’s artwork, musical instruments, sentimental pieces of furniture and formal dishware.

5. Keep in mind that the memories are more important than the items. That doesn’t mean this process will be easy, and it’s okay if it takes some time to part with beloved items. But you can still carry those memories without the physical items.

Make a point to listen. One of the best things you can do during this conversation, whether you are the child or parent, is to actively listen. Once you’ve finished sharing your thoughts, give the other person space to respond or ask questions. And as they talk, avoid the temptation to interrupt. Even if they disagree or see things differently, listening shows respect, and that’s a crucial ingredient for a successful outcome
Make a plan. If you’re the child talking to your aging parent, you should go into the conversation knowing you will most likely end up having this discussion multiple times before arriving at a decision. But that doesn’t mean you should leave the conversation open-ended without creating some kind of action plan.

Tips on having the Conversation

Having the actual conversation may be a little difficult. Even if your family has strong relationships, the subject matter can lead to feelings of fear and apprehension. Sometimes it even opens the door for difficult and emotionally charged questions. But with patience and thoughtful communication, you can work together to find a positive solution for everyone.

Timing is everything.
If you’ve ever had to talk about a sensitive subject, you know that timing is everything. You don’t want to dive into a deep conversation while someone is distracted. With that in mind, make sure you plan to bring up the topic of senior living when everyone is fully present and able to focus on each other. It’s also wise to make sure everyone is in a good mood and has plenty of time to engage in the conversation.

Lead with your observations and concerns.
This applies to both parties: the senior parent and the adult children. No matter which side of the conversation you’re on, it’s important to lead with your observations and concerns from a place of love and understanding. Don’t charge through with accusations or fear, but address your family member with the reasons why you think it might be time to consider senior living.

For parents speaking to their children, this might look like sharing some of the concerns you have about living on your own in the coming years. Perhaps you are more worried about falling, maintaining the house or addressing your increasing healthcare needs.

For children talking to their parents, it’s important to emphasize how much you love them and want them to be as happy and healthy as possible. You can share some examples of situations that have led you to the conclusion that it might be time for them to transition to community life.

A few examples of action items include scheduling a follow-up conversation with your parent after they’ve had some time to think about moving, visiting a few local communities in the area together so your mom or dad can see what community life is like, or looping in another trusted family member or friend who can provide another perspective to the situation.

If you’re a parent talking to your child, you probably want to give your loved ones a chance to process what you’ve told them. But that doesn’t mean you should press pause on your plans to move forward. 

You can be kind and understanding if your kids aren’t convinced that you should move while also letting them know that you are going to move forward with your decision. Let them know what the next steps look like and how you plan to go about making the transition. Depending on their reactions, you may even want to ask for their advice and involvement along the way. 

Scroll to Top