Growing up we looked to our parents for reassurance when we were scared. Most of us could never imagine them fearful of anything or at the very least they always knew what to do. But, at some point, things change. It can feel surreal as the dynamic shifts from child to the caregiver and/or decision-maker and your parents begin to struggle with fears of their own about getting older. Here are some of the most common aging fears and how to help your parents cope with them.
Aging Fears for Seniors
Let’s face it, the unknown is scary and your parents are likely worried about what the future may hold. Perhaps they are experiencing health issues, now live alone or wonder if they’ve saved enough over the years. They certainly aren’t alone in this.
The most common aging fears include:
- Loss of independence
- Declining health
- Running out of money
- Moving from home
- Losing loved ones
- Depending on others
- Not being able to drive
- Being isolated and lonely
- Falling or becoming disabled
Coping with Aging Fears
Understanding where your parent is coming from is important, but what can you do to help? First, it’s important to listen and take their feelings to heart. Show them empathy – you’ll be in their shoes one day! And having patience with them will provide great comfort.
But it’s also key that you discuss the future in a way that shows you’re on their side. In doing so they may even be relieved to have the opportunity to open up with you! By collaborating together to find solutions to these fears (instead of dictating a plan of action), you may even strengthen your relationship.
Conversation starters may include:
- How can we help you stay independent?
- Would it be helpful to have your meals prepared?
- Do you enjoy driving as much as you used to?
- Have you had the opportunity to connect with any friends recently?
- Is the house becoming a lot to manage?
How Senior Living Can Help
Ultimately, helping your parent gain peace of mind for the future may include considering options other than home. Many people don’t realize that today’s senior living communities are specifically designed to help seniors live their best lives.
Here’s how senior living can help overcome some of the most common aging fears:
- The environment fosters independence perhaps even more so than at home by providing just the right amount of support, often with multiple levels of care on one campus to support evolving health needs.
- Your parent will never have to worry about being alone as most senior living communities have a dedicated activity director and monthly calendars filled with clubs, classes, events, and outings.
- Moving is hard, but leaving the stress of chores and maintaining the home behind while gaining a worry-free lifestyle with meals, housekeeping and laundry, as well as resort-like amenities, make the transition much easier.
- Senior living helps with financial predictability because your parent won’t have unexpected home expenses to budget for and you typically have a range of pricing options to give you more control over how, when, and what you pay.
For more information, check out our Stay or Go Guide or schedule a virtual tour →