Seniors in Denial, Relying on Friends and Family

Seniors in Denial, Relying on Friends and Family

"I am not ready yet." Illustration courtesy of, "Your Senior Housing Options" book.

“I am not ready yet.” Illustration courtesy of, “Your Senior Housing Options” book.

Every single one of us knows a senior who is struggling in their home. Some seniors silently suffer and others have a whole network of support from family and friends.

  • Daughters may call their mom once a day to inquire if her senior parent is okay OR no answer could mean they fell again and need help.

Result: Senior falls often lead to fractured hips, 911 calls, skilled nursing care with physically therapy and needing 24/7 care.

  • A son may set his senior parent up with medications in a pillbox and then call two or three times a day to make sure his parent has taken them.

Result: This can be effective until the senior says, “What are these pills for? I don’t want to take them.” Most family members are not there in person twice a day to make sure the senior ingests the pills.

  • Kind neighbors may make an extra plate of dinner every night and take it to their senior neighbor.

Result: Neighbors get frustrated and burned out, spending every single night away from their own family for one year or more. This type of support can’t go on and on.

  • Daughters may spend every other Saturday cleaning mom’s house, grocery shopping and setting up her senior parent to survive for another two weeks.

Result: Even if the daughter lives two hours away, this type of help eventually turns into every Saturday. If the daughter works full time, it can never be daily help, then what?

What is the answer to a senior struggling to manage in their home?

Result: It’s time to talk turkey with a senior.

There are five typical results in having “The Talk” with a senior:

  1. Denial: “I am just fine living in my own home.  I am not ready yet.”
  2. Shutting down: “I don’t want to discuss this.”
  3. Anger: “Why are you questioning my ability to be independent? Leave me alone.”
  4. Confusion: “Don’t you want to come see me everyday? I don’t understand.”
  5. Acceptance: “I understand that I have become a burden. Maybe it’s time to look at what my senior housing options could be. I am tired of being lonely. Will you help me look?”

In my 17-year senior housing career, my teams and I have helped thousands of seniors improve the quality of their life by making a planned move into an independent living, assisted living or Continuing Care Retirement Community. No one ever chooses memory care or skilled nursing, but those are options for many seniors (like my own in-laws) who waited too long and ended up in a health care crisis. Both my in-laws were hospitalized simultaneously in different hospitals and both their doctor’s told them they needed 24/7 care and could not return home. There was so much unnecessary suffering in my family and I don’t wish it on anyone. Such as my mother-in-law with dementia being given psychotropic medications (they don’t mix well). She has never been the same. Maybe my experiences can save you from a senior health care crisis?

Next week my blog will feature: 7 Tips to have “The Talk” with a Senior.

If this article struck a cord with you, please share it on social media to help others. If you have a friend or neighbor going through a struggle with a senior, let them know about next week’s blog.

Give the gift of knowledge: “Your Senior Housing Options” is an easy read with illustrations. It walks seniors and their adult children through the costs and pitfalls of navigating senior housing and includes the  chapter on the “7 Deadly Sins of Searching for Senior Housing Options.”

News Flash: Diane Masson’s new interview on Generation Bold Radio will broadcast on Sunday, December 6th on the BizTalkRadio Network syndicated to 33 stations across the country.  

Diane Masson is a senior living expert who has authored two 5-star rated books sold through Amazon. Her new book is an all-encompassing answer guide for seniors called, “Your Senior Housing Options,” designed to help seniors navigate choices quickly. The second book was written for senior living professionals called, Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full. Reach out to her through her website: Tips2Seniors.com and read the weekly blog.

How Do You Unfreeze a Frozen Senior?

How Do You Unfreeze a Frozen Senior?

Unfreezing a Frozen Senior

After a senior has been diagnosed with a progressive disease such as macular degeneration of the eyes, the onset of blindness, dementia, brain tumor, stroke, cancer, etc. – one of two things can happen:

  1. The senior gets their affairs in order and prepares for someone to care for them when they no longer can.
  2. They go into denial.

As a senior’s disease progresses they may come and tour at your community or mine.  It is very difficult to know that this senior may be in an unsafe situation in his or her home.  I think it affects each of us who are caring professionals in the senior housing industry.  Yet, the senior refuses to bring in help to their home or move to retirement or assisted living community.  It becomes even harder when the adult children are extremely worried.  They may be begging you to talk his or her parent into moving into your senior living community.

I believe the biggest reason this type of senior does nothing is because they are only living in the moment instead of recognizing the potential hazards of their health deteriorating further.

What can we do to unfreeze seniors who may be at risk?

  • Ask great questions
  • Find out why they decided to tour your community today
  • Inquire about what is most important for them
  • Help them recognize they have a challenge
  • Try to have them vocalize their plan for when they can no longer take care of themselves
  • Educate them on potential future outcomes

As a professional senior living expert, who has the best interests of the senior at heart, what have you said or done to help unfreeze a senior?

Please share your successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2014 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.
Three Solutions to Arguing and Objections in Senior Living Sales

Three Solutions to Arguing and Objections in Senior Living Sales

Arguing with a SeniorAre you fighting with prospective residents who are in denial?  I don’t mean physical punches… After they ask a question or make a comment, are you coming at them with a quick verbal rebuttal?  Stop it!!!  Many senior living sales people don’t even realize that they are arguing with the prospective resident.

It can be very difficult to evaluate yourself and recognize your own faults.  Do the best you can to catch yourself saying a “but” or ask a co-worker/supervisor to listen to one of your tours.  When the prospective senior says something like, “I love my home and can’t see myself moving.”  I have heard sales people say, “But…you don’t see how wonderful life could be here.” Or a senior says, “I am doing fine in my own home.”  (They can barely walk and you recognize an unsafe situation for them living at home.)

The prospective senior is in denial.  It is so common.  Don’t fight them, they will just get irritated and go to your competitor down the road.  There are three easy solutions to deal with denial.

1)   Ignore the senior’s denial and keep educating them on the benefits of living at your community.  I don’t mean – shoving it in their face.  Some seniors have so much denial that it could take them months or a few years to recognize the benefits of living at your senior living community.  Keep inviting them to events.  Eventually they can see the lifestyle in your independent or Continuing Care Retirement Community is better than living in their own home.

2)   If you work in an assisted living or memory care community, time may be of the essence with a need driven situation.  Get the phone numbers for the adult children and work through them.  A strong Boomer child, who understands that his or her mom or dad is unsafe, can create a 48 hour or one week move in for the parent.  Invite the children to dine at your retirement community with the parent.  It’s magical, how quickly they select an apartment and put down a deposit.

3)   When they say, “I love my home with the 180 degree view of the water and mountain.”  Don’t interrupt!  Let them go on for five minutes or more about their lovely home.  Then causally say, “ Your home sounds lovely, why are you here?”  Whatever comes out of their mouth is the real reason.  Now it is up to you to provide a solution and collect a deposit.

Remember that everyone walks in the door of your retirement community for a reason.  Yes, they can be in denial, but they came to you.  Help them, by listening and exploring an implied need.  Then provide a solution – gently…

Please share your successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Most recently Masson was recruited to consult for two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.