Connecting with Aging Parents

 

As you grew up, your parents’ role in your life changed. From caretakers in early childhood, your parents guided you into your adulthood. As they age, your role in your parents’ lives is changing. Your parents may turn to you for support with medical decisions, financial decisions, day-to-day life logistics, and even decisions about where they live.

You want to do right by your parents as their needs change, but in the hustle and bustle of your own life, you may have yet to have conversations with them about what they want and need. You may also worry that your parents will resist the necessary changes, and you want to know how to work through that with them.

Forming strong bonds: connecting with aging loved ones

Developing a strong bond with your loved ones is one of the best ways to help make these decisions easier for everyone. We live in a society where multigenerational homes are not always the norm, so extra effort to connect regularly with your parents or loved ones is worth prioritizing. That connection will give all of you space to speak honestly about what is needed and possible.

Stay curious: ask questions to stay involved

When connecting with your aging loved ones, you’ll need to ask many questions as you take on a larger role in managing their lives. If you haven’t already developed a rapport with your parents that includes being interested in their lives, now is a great time to start.

Ask your parents or loved ones about their day, interests, and friends. Ask them for life advice; they have a lot of experience, and you will show that you respect their wisdom and appreciate their place in your life.

As you ask these questions, you create space to ask your parents questions about what you’ve noticed about their changing needs. Listen to their responses, then ask if there are ways that their lives could be made easier. For example, if your loved one is walking differently, ask if their feet or legs bother them. If they say yes, ask if you can help by shopping with them for new shoes or finding a podiatrist who can help.

When you ask curious, open-hearted questions without judgment, you become a safe person for your parents to share with, and that bond will help you get them the senior living care they need.

Find common ground in activities together

As your loved ones age, seeking opportunities to bond with them will support your communication. Finding activities you enjoy with them can be a great starting point for interesting conversation, giving you a shared experience. Connecting over activities can make conversations flow more easily. Here are just a few ideas for you and your parents to consider:

● Cooking together

● Visit a weekend market (farmers market, flea market)

● Start a family game night or book club

● Volunteer together

● Take a class as a family

● Visit local natural areas

● Garden together

● Go to local museums, movies, or community activities

● Go to sporting events together

● Go through family photos together

Talking to your loved ones about senior living

Discussing living options will become increasingly important as your parents’ and loved ones’ needs change. Your loved ones may resist change or worry about costs, care quality, or being away from family.

It’s important to include your loved one in the decision to move into an assisted living or memory care senior living community.

Talking to listen: communication tips for talking to senior parents

Listening is an excellent first step when you start the conversation around senior living. Ask your loved ones for their thoughts, and hear what they say. You may not agree or notice they don’t have all the information possible about what seniors

living in a community like Tuscan Gardens of Palm Coast can be like, but listening is important. Hold off on disagreeing or adding information to the conversation until your parents feel fully heard.

This listening shows you respect their point of view, even if you disagree. It also allows you to ask questions and fully understand their thoughts. This can be crucial for figuring out what level of care in a senior living community will be best for them and will help you make better decisions in the long run.

Split sensitive subjects into multiple conversations

Sensitive subjects like finances and health decisions can be challenging to approach and settle in a single conversation. These conversations may also look different, some happening directly and some coming about while you do activities together that demonstrate your stronger bond.

Treat talking about these subjects as something you’ll do more than once before making any decisions. This will help you not burn out in the end and allow your loved one time to get used to the ideas and decisions you offer them.

Make your parents part of the process

Some decision-making tools, like the Roobrik assessment tool that Tuscan Gardens of Palm Coast offers, can help you and your parents decide the right time for senior living. Asking these questions can help your loved one understand their needs, and working together through a decision-making process can help you all stay on the same page.

The questions on these senior living assessments also provide conversation starters that give your parents specific things to consider regarding their future living situation.

Give your loved one choices that respect their independence

As your loved ones age, they may resist acknowledging their changing abilities and needs. They are used to making their own decisions, and that autonomy is a point of personal pride, even when talking to your loved ones about senior living. You can help them feel pride is still in place by offering choices while limiting the choices to options that support their needs. It’s important to choose a senior living community that focuses on and prioritizes the independence of each resident.

Some choices you can offer your parents or loved ones include:

● How do they want to travel when they can no longer safely drive?

○ For example: “Hey, Dad, the senior living community has a shuttle to take you to the grocery store, but I wanted to know if you wanted to come with me this week instead?”

● What day do they want to go to the doctor?

○ For example: “Hey mom, do you want to see the doctor next Tuesday or Thursday?”

● Which senior living community do they like best?

○ For example, “I found these three options for senior living. Will you look at these brochures with me?”

● When do they want you to visit, and what do they want to do?

○ For example, “I’d like to visit regularly. Can I come by each Sunday afternoon? What would you like to do together?” 

 

Commit to regular connection no matter where they live

Your loved one may worry that you’ll be less interested or able to visit once they move to a senior living community. As you choose together where your loved one will live, emphasize to them your plans to visit or connect with them frequently.

Communities like Tuscan Gardens of Palm Coast prioritize keeping residents connected to their families by making visits easy. They also use technology, including video chat and phones, to support residents’ connections to distant family and friends. You can ask questions and make plans when you tour the different communities, showing your parents that they will expand their social network by meeting other residents and still have a strong connection with you.

Show your parents that senior living can expand their horizons

As you strengthen your bond with your loved one and show respect for their independence while diligently supporting their needs, you need a senior living community that supports your connection to them and respects their independence. Tuscan Gardens of Palm Coast balances multiple levels of care to keep residents healthy and happy, encouraging independence and supporting their needs.

If you and your loved one would like to schedule a tour, connect with Tuscan Gardens of Palm Coast today. We are ready to answer any questions you may have, show you around our community, and introduce you to residents.

Established in 2011, Tuscan Gardens of Palm Coast provides assisted living, enhanced assisted living, and memory care. It offers a vibrant lifestyle complete with Signature Dining, Signature Programs, and a Signature Experience grounded in celebrating family, culture, and heritage. Located in sunny Palm Coast, Tuscan Gardens of Palm Coast is a place your loved one can call home, with all of the comforts you would expect from a luxury senior living community in Florida.