Your parents have lived in the same house for your entire life. They bought it after they got married and it’s where they raised you and your siblings. The halls are covered with family photos, and on some door frames, you can still see the trace of when you got measured. Now that everyone has moved out, you realize the house feels empty. Without the laughter of kids or friends, the silence is heavy between your parents. Due to the size, it is also a lot to maintain. After your fathers’ injury last year, most of the responsibility falls on your mother’s shoulders. You’ve gently suggested downsizing, but tempers flare quickly.
Moving out of their homes is a massive change to the older generation. After working hard, they deserve a space that is safe and manageable. Follow our comprehensive guide on why independent living is a great option to get everyone on the same page for a brighter future.
MORE TO EXPLORE: What To Expect – And Enjoy – From Daily Life In Independent Living
What Is Independent Living?
Independent living is an umbrella term that encompasses any housing designed for seniors. It ranges from complete liberty in manageable spaces to full-time dedicated support. When your parents hear you want them to move out of their home, they might immediately picture the latter. It’s important to collectively recognize this is a transition designed to help everyone ease into the future.
How To Start & Continue The Conversation
Bringing up the topic of independent living can immediately put your older family members on the defensive. Follow these tips to create a safe space for the discussion.
1. Have The Conversation Outside Of Home
Instead of bringing it up in their living room, take your parents for a coffee. Use the neutral setting to bring up qualities about their current living situation, like maintenance and cleaning, to ease into the conversation.
When you bring up the topic of moving, listen to the exact fears your parents bring up. It’s easier to show them the points that will persuade them if you pay attention to what they are worried about losing.
3. Don’t Give An Ultimatum
This conversation will need to happen several times for your parents to get comfortable with the idea. You’ll want to start the discussion as early as possible to let them have time to think about it. Let them know you are doing this for their best interest and give them time to reflect. The more pressure you apply, the more hostile the conversation will become.
4. Arrange A Visit
Arranging a visit can help your parents visualize the future. Setting a time to visit potential new communities with the opportunity to return home will make them feel safe. It’s not an ambush, and they could even speak to current residents to get further insight.
5. Plan To Speak Again
Let your older family members know this is the first of many conversations. Agree on a timeline together when you can discuss this next. It’s also helpful for you both to bring up questions or concerns.
MORE TO EXPLORE: There’s More To Senior Living Than Care
Misconceptions About Independent Living
While moving into independent living can be scary, we’ve made a list of misconceptions to help alleviate their fear.
1. Myth #1: I’m Losing My Independence
When your parents bought their first home, it was a clear signal of independence. They had their own home and were supporting their own family. Giving up this property can feel like a big sacrifice and be intimidating.
The reality is they will still have independence, just in a space specifically designed for them and their current stage of life. Your beloved family members will still manage their time autonomously.
2. Myth #2: No One Will Visit Me Anymore
Your parents might think if they move, they’ll stop having guests. A great point to bring up with this is a look at what your family is currently doing. If your parents are no longer hosting events, then you can point out that won’t change. Many independent living spaces have gardens for visits, plus they can still move about freely to keep appointments outside of the space.
3. Myth #3: I Won’t Be Able To Pursue Interests Or Hobbies
Your relatives might think if they move, they will be under a microscope. Studies prove that more senior adults develop new hobbies living in a community space. Being surrounded by people with different interests may encourage them to spark new passions of their own.
4. Myth #4: The Food Will Be Terrible
For as long as we can remember, community-living food has been deemed bland. If your parents are used to cooking their food, this might be the biggest point of discussion. Many independent living spaces come equipped with kitchen appliances.
5. Myth #5: I’m Not Old Enough
A lot of the elderly population don’t realize that moving into an independent living space doesn’t mean you are decrepit. This is why it’s essential to realize the different standards of independent living. Reassure your relatives you don’t think they are old – you just want their days to be easier.
6. Myth #6: I’ll Lose My Privacy
Images of constant check-ups or neighbors wandering into their space make your relatives think they will lose their privacy found at home. Independent living facilities still guarantee privacy but also allow for new friendships to flourish. While your parents might be protective of their privacy, having an active social life is beneficial for their mental and emotional well-being.
The 12 Oaks Standard
At the family of 12 Oaks managed communities, we offer three different independent living options. Our accommodations vary from independent to assisted in matching your relative’s needs. Our team is available twenty-four hours a day to ensure full support. We currently offer virtual tours of our spaces and are available to discuss any concerns you may have.
If you have questions about independent living or any conditions discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while still leading fulfilling lives. There’s no better place to enjoy the encore season of life than at a 12 Oaks community. For questions or to schedule a visit, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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