As a parent, you’re likely accustomed to having challenging conversations with your children. Perhaps you’ve shepherded them through the tough years of school; tackled difficult topics like their financial security and job prospects; or even delivered hard family news.
But now it’s time to shift the focus of the conversation to you.
As you begin to explore new opportunities, whether that may be a senior living community or something else entirely, you need to be certain you’re making the right decision for yourself. And sometimes the most difficult aspects of making the right decision are the conversations leading up to the choice.
After all, transitioning to a senior living community (or elsewhere) is a very emotional and confusing process for both you and your family.
Here are some suggestions on how to talk to your children about your needs and wants:
Don’t expect that your children will simply know what you want – tell them. Are you just ready to have someone else cook and clean for you? Do you think you may soon wish for more active support throughout your day? Your children may be able to provide an outside perspective on your needs, but your outlook on your own wants is crucial.
Give your children opportunities to discuss options, ask questions, and express ideas. These small acknowledgements will remind your children that you recognize and appreciate their opinions (even if you don’t always agree), which will make the entire process more agreeable for everyone involved.
It’s easy for grown children to become anxious about you, their aging parent, and sometimes this manifests itself in scrutiny of you or your actions. If this scrutiny is unfounded or becomes overwhelming, it’s time to have a discussion with your children. Remind them that you value both their support and your independence. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
It’s essential that these conversations are handled with respect, education, and understanding. After all, your children are simply looking out for your best interest and want to help you make the best decision for you.