I am going home to Dallas, Texas to visit my dad in a few weeks. He lives alone since my mother passed away last year. When I was in town to see him over the holidays I noticed a big decline in his health. I really think he is lonely and maybe even depressed.
Dad seems to have dropped out of a lot of the social clubs he and my mother belonged to for years, and has even let his personal appearance slide a bit. I talk with him almost every day and he always tells me he is doing “fine” and doesn’t need anything. But I really think the time has come to talk with him about moving to a retirement community. I think he needs to be around people his own age and not home alone so much.
I have to admit, however, that I am really struggling to figure out how to begin this conversation. I don’t want my dad to think I am trying to take away his independence.
Do you have any ideas you can share that might help me tackle this topic with my dad?
You aren’t alone is struggling to tackle this topic with your father. For many adult children, sitting down to talk with an aging parent about moving to senior living is one of the most difficult conversations they will ever have.
You are right in adopting a proactive approach and having the discussion before a crisis occurs. Some families delay this talk and are then faced with needing to have it in the midst of an emergency. It makes a stressful time doubly difficult.
6 Tips for Having “The Conversation” with a Senior Loved One
Here are a few tips we typically offer to the families in north Texas that we work with each day:
- Understand it is a Process: Go in to this conversation with the knowledge that you will likely have to talk about this more than one time. Moving to senior living is a big decision. In most instances, things can’t be worked out in just one discussion.
- Explore your Options First: Adult children often call us for help before talking with a parent. It helps them gain a better insight about the options for residential care homes and assisted living communities in Dallas. Feeling confident that you understand what is available can make the conversation go more smoothly.
- Write it Down: It might make you feel more confident if you outline your thoughts on paper before you start the conversation with your dad. Doing so can help you clarify what your concerns for your dad are and how you think moving to a residential care home or senior living community can overcome them.
- Give Yourself Time: It is best to initiate this conversation when you know you will have all the time you need and won’t feel rushed. Your dad will probably need time to absorb the idea before he can even begin to ask questions.
- Be Kind: It sounds like you are already worried about hurting your father’s pride. Communicating that you know it will be tough for him to give up the house he and your mother shared is important. Empathy and kindness go a long way in making this discussion productive.
- Listen: While it might seem too obvious to even have to say, it happens quite often. Adult children fail to listen to an aging parent’s wishes and what they are afraid of when it comes to moving. Give your dad time to talk uninterrupted. It is the best way to determine what the barriers are to making a move. When you understand his fears, you can address them one by one.
I hope this helps you feel more confident when you visit your dad and tackle the conversation about moving to senior living. I would also like to extend an invitation to you to consult with one of our senior care advisors by phone before you head to Dallas to talk with your father.
Each of us knows the senior care market in north Texas very well. We can help you learn more about which senior living communities might be good ones to consider!
Senior Living Specialists is a free service for seniors and their families. We are compensated by a referral fee when a senior moves into a community or care home. Please call us in the Dallas, Fort Worth metro area today at 214-929-5055 to learn more!