“There’s no place like home for the holidays,” sings Perry Como in the Christmas classic composed by Robert Allen and recorded in 1954. But despite the wonderful lyrics of writer Al Stillman, sometimes you can (and maybe even should) reconsider what best constitutes “home sweet home.” For a senior whose health or faculties are failing, or who would benefit from greater socialization and/or daily living support, the holidays can be a good opportunity for family members to bring up life planning for the new year. It is, after all, one of the few times of the year when loved ones gather and may pause to converse leisurely around the kitchen or dining table.
Here are three tips to consider this holiday if you are trying to convince a senior to move or even simply trying to bring up this often delicate subject:
Do not use words such as “nursing home” or “facility” or “institution” during a conversation with the senior. Instead, use the words “retirement community,” “continuing care retirement community,” or “alternative living option.” A lot of seniors have awful memories of a loved one living in an old-time nursing home, with few to no amenities, and little sophistication with regard to geriatric needs. Your older loved one might not realize how senior living communities have changed. They are not your Grandma’s nursing home anymore!
Remember, you cannot force a senior into making a move until he or she is ready, and often it will take a crisis to make them realize they have to do it. Before founding ADSLA, I served as Admissions Director for an outstanding retirement community and yet placement never worked out when the senior was forced. When the senior warms up to the idea of moving to a more supportive environment, make appointments to get advice and see some communities immediately.
Do not tell the senior that he or she will be better off with people of the same age. The immediate response will likely be, “I don’t want to be with a bunch of old people.” Instead, you may want to try something like, “You might enjoy being around people who have interests and backgrounds similar to yours.”
ADSLA cannot promise to any senior or family “happy in a million ways,” but for the holidays and the new year to come, we can offer expert advice and information designed to help you find the best fit for seniors seeking their next “home sweet home.”
Best wishes for a merry set of holidays and healthy, happy New Year!
For all of your senior living needs, contact Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors. Call us at (708) 415-2934 or email us. Please visit our website. Please watch my video to learn how the process works and learn what some clients have to say.
Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors
1497 Shire Circle
Inverness, IL 60067