When it comes to senior living options, it’s probably important to your loved one that they feel understood. Moving to a new living arrangement is a difficult and stressful life event at any age. By practicing active listening, you can encourage your loved one to express their concerns, which may lead them to become more open to hearing about your concerns.
-Give clear examples
Examples are very helpful when talking with an aging loved one about changing their living situation. Getting your perspective across will benefit from compelling and understandable evidence. What particular instances have raised your concerns about your loved one living alone? For example, has your loved one experienced a cooking accident in the kitchen? Have they experienced a hazardous fall? Have they gotten lost or disoriented? Consider keeping a mental record of these examples to gently refer to during your discussion, in order to show your loved one why you are concerned about their well-being.
-Avoid “you” statements and demands
A little attention to phrasing can go a long way. Statements such as “you are not well enough to be living alone,” or “you need help” can come across as feeling accusatory to your aging loved one. Instead, consider using “I” statements, such as “I worry about your well-being” or “I want to make sure you’re safe.”
Keep in mind that this is not likely to be a one-and-done discussion. You’ll probably need to have this conversation a few times before reaching an agreement. But by making genuine efforts to understand, giving good examples and watching the phrasing you use, you can turn this difficult discussion into a success.