The holidays are a joyful time when families come together to create conversations and make warm memories. They can also be a time when families realize that their aging loved ones might not be doing so well. Maybe they see signs that mom or dad can no longer care for themselves properly, or that it’s no longer safe for them to live alone. Whatever the change is, it can be scary and heartbreaking for the seniors’ loved ones.
In the senior living industry, the holidays tend to be the calm before the storm. With 98.6 million Americans traveling this holiday season, we know that there will be a lot of families going through this same situation when they’re back home. This realization can often bring confusion about how to get help. At APFM, we see a 32% increase in lead volume in January compared to our November and December averages. This surge is something we see year over year. With this insight, we can do what we can to help prepare families before they had back home to visit mom or dad.
We understand how upsetting it is when an adult child sees that there has been a change in their parents. We also know that it’s even harder to discuss this situation with them.
To assist families in having this conversation, we created the “Tough Conversation Expert Guide” – because having this conversation is easier than you think. The Tough Conversation Expert Guide is a wonderful new resource that you can share with families that are starting to think about senior living. The guide features APFM’s expert panel and provides guidance to families on how to have conversations with aging loved ones on the most important topics relating to aging and planning for the future. The guide also features tips from APFM’s spokeswoman, Joan Lunden, as well as interviews with the following experts. Download our resource guide that families can take with them when they visit home.
If you have someone already thinking about senior living, give them this guide so they can be equipped before they head home for the holidays.
Discussing Health with Aging Loved Ones, featuring Geriatrician Dr. Leslie Kernisan
Approach health conversations with a well-rounded understanding. Dr. Kernisan says, “I work with families and there’s this idea that we’re going to cure people and keep them healthy, but the truth is that people have chronic illnesses and disabilities when they age. You have to ask the question, ‘how do I make my loved one’s health the best it can be?’ Read Dr. Kernisan’s full advice
Assessing Wellbeing, featuring Geriatric Psychologist Dr. Melissa Henston
Approach the conversation delicately. Dr. Henston says, “Typically you need to look for the opening and opportunity, rather than just jumping in. Don’t try to take control. Try to get a natural conversation going.” Read Dr. Henston’s full advice
Financial Planning, featuring Financial Advisor Andy Smith
Ask your parents about their goals for later in life. Smith says, “Personal preferences may change over the years, so regularly revisiting your loved one’s plans and documents — just in simple, relaxed conversations — helps keep their wishes clear.” Read Andy Smith’s full advice
Legal Planning Featuring Elder Law Attorney Stuart Furman, Esq.
Have the conversation early. Furman says, “There used to be only two absolute truths. Death and taxes. But there is a third, and that’s eldercare. The only questions are: how long is it going to last, and how intense is it going to be? You need to be prepared while Mom and Dad are still competent.” Read Stuart Furman’s full advice
Assessing Cognitive Ability, featuring Psychiatrist & Neuroscientist Wes Ashford
Observation is key. “People have a way of compensating and covering up for memory loss, so it helps if you know your parents really well and can discern a change. It’s the subtle changes or problems that might give you a clue.” Read Dr. Wes Ashford’s full advice
This is a fantastic resource to share with the families you work with that are struggling with having the touch conversation with their aging loved ones. You can direct families to www.aplaceformom.com/conversations.