When It’s Time to Have the Difficult Conversation


Ovation Heartwood Preserve

Posted on

Mar 13, 2023


Nebraska - Eastern Region

Parents often struggle to communicate with their children about a decision to consider a move to a senior living community. Children of aging parents find themselves facing the challenge of talking to a loved one about one day moving from home to a community. Talking with a parent can be a difficult conversation. Many people hear “retirement community” and think nursing home, even though that is not the senior living community of today.

Before broaching the subject of a move, write down concerns you have for your parents. For example, are they safe in their home environment or have they been making errors with their medications? Educate yourself on senior living options to get an idea of the best fit for your loved ones. The more you learn, the better prepared you will be for the conversation.

Create a few conversation starters that will help you ease into the discussion. Bringing up the subject of a retirement community can be the hardest part. Ask about their experiences and feelings about living at home. What
are your worries about staying in your home? Do you feel safe and secure? Do you ever feel lonely or isolated? What would it feel like not to maintain your current home?

This is not a conversation to have over the phone. Choose a time and place that is relaxed and free from interruptions. Begin the conversation by asking a few questions and listen to the responses which will include their feelings, thoughts, concerns and fears. Be empathetic and caring. Make sure to stress that the decision is their decision.

Making a move to a senior living community is one of the most difficult decisions seniors will ever make. With preparation and patience and having the difficult conversation, the next step might be planning a move to embark on the next chapter for a loved one!


Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Ginger Apprich, Community Relations Director for Ovation. She can be reached at ginger.apprich@ovationbyavamere.com or 402-999-7900.

Other Articles You May Like

Three Tips for Making Friends in Assisted Living

At every stage of life, forging meaningful friendships can be tough, and especially so during times of transition. It is common to adopt fears of loneliness and hesitations to form new friendships. However, making friends when moving to an assisted living community can also be deeply rewarding and important for overall well-being.According to a recent CDC report on healthy aging, loneliness and social isolation are serious health risks that affect a significant number of older adults in the United States. While it is hard to accurately measure the effects of loneliness and social isolation, this report states that the health risks due to a lack of strong relationships can include dementia, heart disease, and stroke. The CDC suggests that, as people are social by nature, high-quality social relationships can help them live longer, healthier lives.At Dayspring Villa, it is top priority to promote an inclusive culture where each persons passions and growth are fully engaged with purpose, honoring them wherever they are in the rhythm of their life. Doing so encourages autonomy and choice, which opens the door for deeper connections based on common interests.Community begins with connection, and there are a variety of ways to make meaningful friendships in assisted living communities. Get to Know the Activities CalendarMany assisted living communities have no shortage of activities and programs available for residents to take part in, which may be developed with or led by residents. The variety of engaging activities help spark and strengthen relationships among residents who are able to connect through shared hobbies, interests and beliefs. Whether you enjoy fitness classes with a larger group, card games with a few close friends, creative projects, bible study, or are interested in pursuing a new hobby, the community calendar will likely have something for you!Make Meals a Social EventFor many, a shared meal can be an opportune time for stimulating conversation and connection. Asking a neighbor to share a meal with you, sitting with new groups in the dining areas, or even inviting a trusted family member or friend to accompany you to a meal are ways to meet new people in assisted living communities.Many assisted living communities are also open to new ideas that will elevate and customize the dining experience. Being open to sharing feedback on the menu, offering to share a personal recipe, or even suggesting an experience that would get community members involved in cooking provides meaningful moments that promote friendship.Embrace the LocationAnother way to make friendships is to explore what your surrounding neighborhood has to offer. Depending on the location, there could be a variety of community activities and ways to connect with new cultures by exploring shops, museums, community organizations, parks, and more.Many assisted living communities, including Dayspring Villa, coordinate community outings with transportation provided as a way to provide a variety of interactive ways to forge new friendships.Embracing Eden Principles at Dayspring Villa Developing meaningful relationships is no small feat. Similar to the task in other phases of life, making friends in a new assisted living community may take some time and it is likely that many of your neighbors are experiencing the same feelings. Collective feelings are what has created and sustained the collaborative and holistic approach to assisted living at Dayspring Villa, all shaped by the Eden Alternative and the Rhythms Life Enrichment program.The principles of the Eden Alternative have been adopted by hundreds of homes in the US, Canada, and Australia with the core belief being that aging should be a period of growth rather than decline. Following this same belief, Dayspring Villa uses the guiding philosophy of Being Well Known, meaning that the culture is shaped by each persons unique life story, personal experiences, and gifts that are honored by the community. Ultimately, the act of friendship could be said to follow that same philosophy too, spurred from unique perspectives and understanding.  Dayspring Villa strongly believes in the value of friendship.  Along with the robust activities calendar, the prime Denver location full of both urban and suburban amenities and the addition of partner programs such as Duet Dining, Dayspring Villa is committed to putting the community members and their ability to form friendships as a top priority.When planning a visit or a move to a senior living community, ask about the programs and resident groups available. Have a unique passion or hobby that isnt already on the calendar? Ask a neighbor or a team member how you can start a new class or plan an excursion. You may be surprised to see how many of your neighbors share the same interests.

Myth-Busting: Active Senior Living Communities

What if you could live in a community that is designed to support your active lifestyle, overall health, and well-being with resources right at your fingertips? What if you could say goodbye to shoveling snow in the winter, mowing the lawn in the summer, and home maintenance chores all year long? This can all be yours when you make the choice to live in an active senior living community. And dont believe the myths it can be one of the most liberating and exciting times in life, especially now with all the current options available.Unlike in our parents time, today there are vibrant independent living options that actually enhance your lifestyle with resort-like amenities, resources, and a community of like-minded people. Its a far cry from when nursing homes were the only option for older adults who wanted a maintenance-free lifestyle with assistance if needed.A new era of community living became prevalent for older adults in the early 1960s when the demand for more options for older adults started shifting. Now communities from coast to coast offer amenities and opportunities that maintain active lifestyles and social engagements that make these communities appealing to many older adults.Debunking the Myths About Active Senior Living CommunitiesThinking of senior living communities in the same breath as nursing homes is so last century and couldnt be further from reality. Lets debunk a few of the myths about retirement communities:Myth #1: Does moving to a retirement community mean I will lose independence?Fact: Depending on the community, many have different styles of living from completely independent to more support levels if needed. Todays retirement communities are designed to create independent living options in order to meet the needs of this generations active lifestyle. Holly Creek offers options of stand-alone cottages and individual apartments where you are free to live as you wish and participate in events, dining and other social engagements when and if you choose.Myth #2: Is retirement living boring?Fact: Almost all senior living communities offer a variety of events that you can choose to participate in. In some cases, the residents create the calendar and events and in others, staff put together activities based on residents interests. When you dont have to spend time and energy on home maintenance chores, you can fully enjoy current interests and perhaps gain new hobbies while meeting new friends. In fact, moving to senior living is one of the best ways to help older adults prevent boredom and avoid social isolation. Holly Creek has so many opportunities, it might be a challenge to fit in all the activities you like, from enjoying the indoor/outdoor pool or fitness center to visiting the theater and art gallery to taking part in exercise classes.Myth #3: Is retirement living for people too old to live on their own?Fact: Older adults are increasingly embracing the idea of living in active senior living communities. According to USA Today, more than 600,000 older Americans like the idea of getting settled in a community and staying there if their care needs change. While there is no magic age to transition to a senior living community, there are some benefits to making the move while you are able to enjoy the amenities and activities offered in a retirement community. In addition, moving sooner will allow you to maintain living independently, but get adjusted to the community environment and be in the company of others.

Its Never Too Late to LEARN!

Do you ever wish you could go back to elementary, middle or high school? Maybe not, when thinking about going through those awkward social phases again! That said, if you're like many retirees or older individuals, you may find it appealing to sit in those classes and learn the things you may not have appreciated back then.The good news is that we can keep learning today. Learning later in life is not only possible but highly beneficial and increasingly recognized as essential for mental agility, personal growth, and overall well-being.Here are some ways you can satisfy that longing to learn without going back to school, and how our Kavod Senior Life community offers lots of ways to keep learning.Hobbies and Interests: Pursue hobbies or interests youve always wanted to explore, or even stretch yourself to try something outside your comfort zone. Whether its gardening, acting, or working with your hands, learning something new can be deeply satisfying. Kavod offers all kinds of amazing classes and activities each month fiber arts, writing, theater and much more. Visit our Activity and Trip Sign Up page on the website to see our most recent calendar with offerings. We even have special events JUST for Assisted Living and then for Senior Living residents! Technology Skills: Improve your digital literacy by learning how to use computers, smartphones, social media, and other technology tools. Kavods Annual Conference on June 26 offered a specific workshop all about technology. If you missed it this year, stay tuned for 2025!Online Learning: You can learn almost anything on YouTube, whether its practical advise or theoretical discussions. These videos allow you to learn at your own pace and from the comfort of your home. TEDX presenters also cover a wide range of topics. You can always access lots of online content at Kavod by checking out a tablet and using our Uniguest platform!Reading and Discussion Groups: Join a book club or discussion group. These groups provide intellectual stimulation and the opportunity to engage in thoughtful conversations. At Kavod, if a group doesnt exist, residents are encouraged and supported to start their own! Bulletin boards allow residents to post classifieds for groups or hobbies others can join, such as chess, mah jong and more.Local Community Programs: Local libraries, community centers, and places of worship provide workshops, lectures, and other learning opportunities tailored to older adults. Kavod on the Road offers weekly programs that are mentally stimulating and engaging! Check out Off Campus section of our website.Formal Education: While we said you do not have to go back to school, you still can! Many universities and community colleges around Denver offer courses specifically designed for older adults, often at reduced rates or even free. Try OLLI or DUs LifeLong Learning Institute.Remember, if you feel daunted by trying something new, show yourself some grace. The benefits of trying far outweigh the initial fear of discomfort or failure. At Kavod, our staff is here to cheer you on and help you get involved as much as you wish. Contact someone from our Life Enrichment department and start learning today. Your brain will thank you for it.

Local Services By This Author

Ovation Heartwood Preserve

Assisted Living 470 Maxwell Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska, 68154

A lifetime of hard work and service is worth a standing ovation and the chance to engage at your own pace. Ovation Heartwood Preserve in Omaha, Nebraska is a vibrant, secure, and active adult lifestyle village where independent living, assisted living, and memory care are inspired by life and Omaha's interwoven history and scenery.

Ovation Heartwood Preserve

Memory Care 470 Maxwell Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska, 68154

A lifetime of hard work and service is worth a standing ovation and the chance to engage at your own pace. Ovation Heartwood Preserve in Omaha, Nebraska is a vibrant, secure, and active adult lifestyle village where independent living, assisted living, and memory care are inspired by life and Omahas interwoven history and scenery.

Ovation Heartwood Preserve

Independent Living 471 Maxwell Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska, 68154

A lifetime of hard work and service is worth a standing ovation and the chance to engage at your own pace. Ovation Heartwood Preserve in Omaha, Nebraska is a vibrant, secure, and active adult lifestyle village where independent living, assisted living, and memory care are inspired by life and Omahas interwoven history and scenery.