Talking to Family Members about Independent Living Communities
Unfortunately, many older adults resist even thinking about making a move into a senior living community, saying they want to remain in their own home. Perhaps, they feel such a move would rob them of their independence. Or maybe, they’re not ready to concede to the fact that they’re getting older. Whatever the reason or reasons, you may find yourself struggling to help them realize that independent living communities provide all the benefits of living in their own home plus a whole lot more.
As you prepare for any discussions with family members, it’s important to remember and help them understand you want only what is best for them. You may have to reiterate this fact repeatedly until everyone truly realizes that this really is your ultimate priority.
What is an Independent Living Community?
It’s wise to have a thorough understanding of what an independent living community is so you’ll be equipped to overcome any incorrect objections concerning such a community. Independent living communities are much like living in your own home, but with a range of fabulous perks.
Many people believe that senior living communities are only for people who require long-term care. While it’s true senior living communities are excellent places for individuals to receive long-term care and assistance, they can also be a great place to enjoy an active retirement lifestyle. With that in mind, let’s look at what an independent living community is and how it can benefit the older adult who does not require any assistance.
There are numerous independent living housing options ranging from single-family homes in age-restricted communities to apartments within senior housing complexes and many options in between. All these options generally offer a variety of floor plans and sizes.
Typically, independent living communities offer an active lifestyle and freedom from the hassles of home maintenance. They offer a wide range of services and amenities such as housekeeping and linen services, transportation services and security. Many communities also provide multiple dining options, fitness centers, pools, libraries, entertainment spaces, beauty and barber salons and much more. Additionally, they offer an abundance of activities and programs in which to take part, often with a focus on wellness.
Benefits and Advantages of Independent Living
An active adult may not readily see any benefits or advantages of moving into an independent living community. After all, they’re doing fine and don’t need any assistance. However, when residents of senior living communities are questioned, many will share that they wish they had moved sooner.
One of the most important benefits of living in a senior community is the opportunity to stay socially connected. All too often, poor health, shrinking social circles, life changes and transportation challenges lead to social isolation and loneliness. According to an article in the Washington Post, more than 40 percent of seniors experience loneliness on a regular basis. Loneliness, even perceived loneliness, can negatively impact on a person’s health and quality of life.
Loneliness and social isolation can lead to depression, and has a wide range of negative effects on a person’s mental and physical health, some of which include:
- Cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure
- Heart attacks and stroke
- Decreased memory, learning and cognitive decline
- The progression of Alzheimer’s disease
- Altered brain function
- Antisocial behavior
- Increased inflammation
- Detrimental impacts to the immune system
According to research at the University of Chicago, older adults who feel lonely and isolated are twice as unhealthy as an obese person and have a 14% higher risk of dying earlier than their socially engaged counterparts.
There are other key benefits to living in a senior community as well. Two of the more common include:
- Freedom to enjoy life – By taking care of the hassles of caring for the home and a yard, independent living communities give residents the time they have always wanted to enjoy activities and pastimes, new and old
- More opportunities to stay active and involved – After taking advantage of the numerous activities offered, many residents are surprised to realize just how little they were actually doing prior to moving into the independent living community. Not only do they have more chances to take part in activities they have always enjoyed, but they also have plenty of opportunities to try something new.
Tips for Talking to Family Members about Independent Living Communities
Let’s look at a few tips that can be beneficial as you begin the process of talking to a family member about moving into an independent living community.
Dealing with Resistant Family Members
By now, you should be convinced of the benefits of living in an independent living community, but when you bring it up with family members who could benefit from such a move, you find yourself facing resistance. What can be done? One thing you can do is to encourage them to try it as a “vacation” for a period of one to four weeks. After they experience all the benefits, they may be more inclined to consider moving into an independent living community. Contact communities in the area to see if they offer apartments on a trial basis.
Talk in Person
It’s best to have conversations about living options in person, if possible. Block out a time and pick a location that will allow you to talk without interruptions.
Show you care by taking time to listen to what they have to say. A calm, patient, kind demeanor and voice will go a long way towards showing them you truly care and that you’re trying to understand their frustrations and fears.
Have Regular Conversations
Don’t wait until your family member is in crisis mode to begin the “living options” conversation. Although they may decide they don’t want to move into independent living at this time, they may consider it again later. Once they have moved into independent living, it becomes easier to take the next step into assisted living when the need arises, especially if the community also offers this option. As stated earlier, make sure they understand you have their best interest at heart, especially when discussing such issues with resistant family members.
Know that it is likely to take several conversations before a decision will be made. Don’t expect them to agree after one conversation. Also, don’t rush them into making a decision. Give them time to think about it so they’ll feel good about the decision when it has been made.
Make Sure All Family Members Agree
As family members prepare to talk to someone about moving to a senior living community, they should come to an agreement among themselves first, before broaching the subject with the family member. Resistant family members will sense any discord and use it to divide and conquer.
Avoid Information Overload
You’ve done your homework and you’ve prepared for this discussion. Sharing some of the reasons you believe this is the right decision can be helpful. Sharing too much can become overwhelming and can feel like an attack; therefore, limit information sharing. If they become defensive, it will become harder to come to a resolution now and later.
Independent Living at Parc Place
Parc Place offers the lifestyle people dream of for retirement. Each of our senior apartments provides all the comforts of home, and we’re located a short drive from fine dining, shopping, historic sites and a multitude of other activities.
Our wellness programs enable residents to maintain physical, mental and spiritual health. From fitness classes and wellness programs to our on-site entertainment and social functions, they’re sure to find an activity, event, program or social function to enjoy at Parc Place. Our resident programs and our amenities and services provide a sophisticated and active retirement lifestyle.
We are a unique retirement community that provides financial freedom, allowing your family member to choose how they want to enjoy their retirement. Select only the amenities and services desired – it’s fully customizable, and no large upfront fee is required.
View our floor plans and contact us at Parc Place to schedule a visit to our beautiful retirement community in Bedford, TX. We look forward to showing you and your family member all that retirement can be!