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Do You Need To Convince A Senior To Move?

As the former Admissions Director of a retirement community that offered independent living, assisted living, and intermediate nursing care, I often had to convince the senior that it was time for him/her to move. Some of the seniors (and their children) knew that it was time to move. Other seniors were extremely resistive. One circumstance stands out in my mind that may offer you some tips on how to convince the senior to move. As a senior living advisor and Certified Care Manager, I find my past experiences to be invaluable to share with my clients.

Real Life Story
My prospect for the retirement community was a seventy-eight year old senior who I will call Mary. Mary was living alone in her own home. She had Parkinson’s disease but could perform all of her activities of daily living on her own. She was the perfect candidate for independent living! The house was located in a changing neighborhood. Her daughter, Lynn, brought her to the home for a tour because Mary’s home had been burglarized. Mary was mugged during the burglary.

During the entire tour and interview, Mary cried piteously and kept repeating that she didn’t want to leave her home. The daughter and I kept insisting that Mary’s safety was at risk. Lynn was also the only relative in the Chicago metropolitan area, and lived in a suburb that was over 25 miles from where Mary lived. I also stressed during the interview that Mary’s Parkinson’s disease would become worse at some point in time. The community would offer additional assistance as well as being closer to Lynn.

At first, Mary would not listen to anything we had to say. A second and third interview with Mary and Lynn followed. Mary continued to cry every time she returned, and sensed that her independence was going to be threatened.

When Lynn scheduled a fourth visit, I knew I had to change my plan. I racked my brain thinking of ways that I could persuade Mary to move in. In the back of my mind, I thought of another resident from independent living who also had experienced difficulties with committing to move. The resident, Ester, was the most independent, outspoken, yet happiest person living there. I asked Ester to talk with Mary about what she had experienced before, during and after the move.

I arranged for a private area for Ester and Mary to talk. About an hour after they had begun their meeting, I saw Ester giving Mary another tour. Mary was actually smiling.

To this day, I never found out what was said during the meeting between Ester and Mary. All I know is that Lynn called that afternoon and said Mary had agreed to move.

Lynn chose a beautiful room for Mary. Brand new furniture was purchased and many of her belongings including her extensive beanie baby collection were set up to personalize the room. Everything was moved prior to Mary’s arrival date to make the transition occur smoothly. The room looked so impressive that I always asked Mary to show it as the “model room.” From that day forward, Mary became the biggest participant in all of the activities that were offered. My fondest recollection of Mary was when I saw her dancing up the hallway after the residents’ New Year’s Eve party. Mary was waving her cane in the air!

So, the moral of the story is this. While you as the adult child may know that it is time for a senior to make a move, please understand that s/he may need to hear it from someone other than you. That someone may need to be a peer!

For all your senior living needs, please contact Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors.