Having the Tough Conversation


Having the Tough Conversation

We know it can be difficult, but it’s important to talk about what’s happening as soon as possible. Planning ahead for the conversation can really help keep things positive and lead to better outcomes.


Get everyone on the same page

This includes siblings and other close family members who are involved with your aging loved one and their care. Prepare before the conversation and make sure everyone is up to date on information and details to avoid confusion during the discussion.


Be compassionate

For the aging person, making the transition into senior living can be a sensitive and difficult topic. Make sure everyone involved in the conversation is considerate and acknowledging of your loved ones’ feelings and fears. Leaving home, and the memories with it, behind can be hard for anyone, and uncertainty about the transition into something new can be intimidating. Remaining compassionate, empathetic, and sensitive can help reassure your loved one you have their best interests in mind and lead to constructive results.



Make sure you know the advantages of community living before having the conversation with your loved one. Shifting the focus to the independence that can be gained, rather than lost, can really help. Outline the benefits that come with less housework and responsibilities, such as time to enjoy their favorite hobbies and socialize. Make it clear to your parents that these communities exist to serve them and act as a resource with supportive staff there to make life easier.


Write it down

Make a list of topics you want to discuss during the conversation. These could include concerns you have about your loved one living independently, benefits to senior living, or just finding the right words to say. The conversation can be difficult and emotional, but writing your thoughts down helps to ensure that you say what you need to say in a compassionate and informed way without being overwhelmed by emotion.


End With a Plan

Even if it’s just to talk again in a month, ensure that there are shared expectations around next steps. You also want to make sure you have an agreed-upon plan if your loved ones can no longer make decisions or in the event of an emergency.