It’s Not a Nursing Home: Talking with Seniors About Elder Care

Elders being served breakfast

For many elders, the thought of moving into a traditional nursing home setting can produce a great deal of anxiety. Consequently, even if you intend to propose something radically different—elder care as opposed to a nursing home—you should approach the conversation carefully. How your initial discussion with a parent or other loved one goes can have a significant impact on their transition to a new group living setting.

The Move to a Skilled Nursing Facility: Diplomacy Around One of Life’s Biggest Decisions

There are a number of steps you can take to make your conversation with an elder about moving into a skilled nursing environment more positive. Before initiating the discussion, you should do your research and understand that there are many alternatives to living in a nursing home. The real-home setting at Green House homes is one example. Knowing that the senior living landscape has changed significantly in recent years can put an elder’s mind more at ease. There are many new options available today.

Elders also appreciate hearing that the current conversation will simply serve as a starting point for a continuing discussion. Making that clear upfront helps keep them from getting defensive. They don’t want to feel that the outcome of this one conversation will determine their fate.

Along the same lines, you should assure them that their thoughts and concerns are valid. Let them know that you can appreciate their perspective, and that their input is important. Elders have had to make important decisions all their lives. They don’t want to be viewed as incapable of providing feedback on this one.

Be sure to use an understanding tone and caring language. However, know that you will need to address some sensitive issues. Whether in the initial discussion or a future conversation, you should talk about things like the progression of illnesses, the risk of falls, and other aging concerns that are best handled in a group setting. It’s also important to discuss the elder’s finances. You will want to explain how maintaining an independent residence can deplete reserves more rapidly in many cases.

Finally, you should do your best to conclude each discussion on a positive note. While making the transition to a skilled nursing community can be difficult, it is almost universally true that elders who choose a real-home setting over a nursing home end up feeling involved, invigorated, and much more in control of their lives.  

Picturing a Positive Future

It is common for elders to fear nursing homes and consequently cling tightly to their independence. However, when they learn about what a real-home skilled nursing setting like Green House Homes at Mirasol offers, they are able to envision a positive future shared with other elders and a caring support team. With patience and understanding, you can help them come to the conclusion that making the transition will be a new and interesting adventure.