The holidays are typically a season when loved ones gather to celebrate. Because it’s fairly common for family members to be scattered across the country, these gatherings might be the first time everyone is face to face in many months. While the family is together in person, it may be a good time to talk about a senior loved one’s hopes for the future and where they see themselves living as they grow older.
Just bringing up the subject, though, can take courage for both the older adult and those who love them. It can be an awkward conversation to initiate and is one of the reasons adult children say they avoid these discussions entirely. If a crisis with the senior occurs, however, families who haven’t created a plan are forced to hurry through the search for an assisted living community during an already stressful time.
While the conversation may feel uncomfortable at first, it’s one older adults and their families almost always need to have. It might help to review these tips for beginning difficult discussions with an aging parent beforehand. Even if you initially only think of it as creating a backup plan for the future, becoming familiar with the options is important.
Why Families Should Visit Senior Living During the Holidays?
While the holidays might seem like a terrible time of year to visit a senior living community, the opposite is usually true. From the opportunity to attend a wide range of festive activities to the chance to talk with other families who are in town visiting, here are a few reasons to schedule a tour now:
- Involve faraway family members
When an older adult is seriously considering a community, it’s important to visit in person at least once, and several times is even better. You won’t be able to make an informed decision until you tour the community and ask a lot of questions.
When several members of the family want to be involved in decision-making for an aging parent, having everyone visit together is helpful. Doing so allows each person to see the options for themselves. It helps keep everyone in the loop, instead of needing to rely on second- or thirdhand information and observations.
- Enjoy the festivities
Senior living communities have a visibly joyful spirit during the holiday season. Most are festively decorated and bustling with events and activity. Scouting troops stop by, youth choirs perform, and treats and goodies abound.
Because they realize families are often in town visiting, senior living communities usually invite potential new residents and their families to join in the fun. You can attend a holiday event and take time afterward to meet the community’s care team and ask questions.
- Meet residents and their families
Just as your loved ones are reuniting for the holidays, so too are the families of senior living residents. When you schedule tours, ask if you can talk with not only current residents but also their family members. They can provide valuable insight that will help you gain an objective understanding of a community’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Beat the post-holiday rush
January is a busy time of year in senior living communities, and the same holds true for spring. The phones are ringing with families asking questions and looking to schedule tours. Your family can beat the rush by exploring options before the end of the year.
When you visit during the holidays, team members will likely have more time to talk with you and answer your questions. Another bonus of visiting and planning a move now is that you will have first choice from open or soon-to-be-open apartments. If the community does have a wait list, your senior loved one can get on it sooner.
What to Look for on a Holiday Visit Home
If you will be traveling to an aging parent’s or grandparent’s home for the holiday, you might notice changes in them you haven’t seen before. It can leave you wondering if this is a normal part of the aging process or something more worrisome.
Visiting Aging Loved Ones During the Holidays has useful information on red flags to look for during your time together. It might help you detect small problems and intervene before they become big ones.
Schedule Your Holiday Visit
At American Senior Communities, our door is always open. Visit Our Communities webpage to find a location near you.