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Senior living, including the assisted variety, is a touchy topic that many of us are apprehensive to bring up or explore. Our senior citizens – whom I often refer to as “silver citizens” – often think they are perfectly fine living on their own. This may be a matter of younger family members doing their very best to act in the best interest of their elder loved ones, and having to take steps to intervene. Our elders may come to the conclusion that family members and friends don’t care or don’t have time to take care of them at this particularly vulnerable time in their lives. My father and I have been discussing this important subject of late. Additionally, I’ve worked with many clients in this challenging, fragile situation.
I would like to outline some positive strategies to help when approaching our silver citizens and presenting the concept of senior living options.
Ganging Up Only Makes Things Worse – Instead of bringing everyone together to have the discussion, sit down with them one-on-one and present the facts. Attacking only makes things worse and can feel like you’re forcing them into something instead of entertaining the idea.
Put Yourself in their Shoes – If you were in their situation, how would you like to be treated in this situation? Keep in mind, their mindset may be far different from yours, but this is something important to consider.
Be Honest but not Blunt- Don’t make things seem perfect. If your elder family member really needs special attention, don’t come out and bluntly state you can or cannot provide that for them. I’ve seen too many cases where parents or loved-ones are pushed away by the thought or notion of senior/assisted living when it’s really the best option for them.
Give Them the Option- Instead of making the decision for them or compelling them to make the decision, take a more passive, gentler approach and give them options to consider. Discuss why you think they should consider assisted living or senior communities. It’s very important they understand they should choose what they believe is the best option.
Prepare Materials – Before you meet, prepare a list of reasons why senior/assisted living could be beneficial and why it might be better than living in your own residence. Thoughtfully list the different avenues.
Avoid Rushing and Urgency. You might send the wrong message if you promote a “we need to act now” scenario. Although you may feel stressed, taking things slowly will put them, as well as everyone involved, at ease. Do your best to be sure they feel relaxed when you bring up the topic of assisted living or a senior community.
Finding your elder family members a senior/assisted living community is not about relieving you or your family of a burden. Ultimately, you want them to feel independent and not so weighed down by you, your life and activities. Take an honest approach, listen, consider and show them options without forcing them into a situation. The result should be a healthy dialogue in which your senior loved ones will listen to you, and you will listen to them. Only good things can result from such mutual love and respect.
For those of you in this situation, I work with many senior/assisted living communities. Depending on your loved ones’ needs, the solution can be as simple as a townhome located in a small community, with the option of receiving additional services and support if and when needed.
Our silver citizens deserve the very best we can offer. I am very pleased to have helped so many find lovely, comfortable homes. If you’d like to sit down for a no obligation consultation, I encourage you to call me @ 317-460-1692, or send me an email: Nina@NinaKlemm.com