7 Tips to have “The Talk” with a Senior

7 Tips to have “The Talk” with a Senior

Do they prefer tea or coffee?

Do they prefer tea or coffee?

Last week the Tips2Seniors blog discussed: Seniors in Denial, Relying on Friends and Family.” 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.

Ultimately when a loved one or neighbor tries to have “The Talk” with the senior it can have five typical results:

  1. Denial: “I am not ready yet.  I am just fine living in my own home.”
  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. Will you help me look?”

In my 17-year senior housing career, sons, daughters and spouses have asked me the same question, how do I have “The Talk.”

Here are my 7 Tips to have “The Talk.”

  1. Set the stage for “The Talk”. You know if it is better to have “The Talk” in public or private with your senior.
    1. Public talk: Take them out to eat in a public location (so they can’t yell at you or they can’t escape into their bedroom).
    2. Private talk: Buy or make your seniors their favorite cookies. Serve the favorite cookies with their special coffee or tea at their dining room table.
  1. Tell your senior how much you love them.
  1. Then share your concerns, be very factual. Such as:
  • You have fallen twice.
  • You missed your medications three times this week.
  • I come over here every day to help you.
  1. Explain your fears in loving detail. Every day when I call you my heart stops till you answer the phone on the third ring. I can’t handle the stress. It is making me sick with worry. I can’t keep this up. If something happens to me, you will be in jeopardy. (It is okay to cry and show your emotions. This is very emotional.)
  1. Recommend a solution to explore senior housing options together. I know you don’t want to move but it will be healthier for you and healthier for me. Let’s do this together.
  1. There is a book that can teach us how to find a great retirement community versus a mediocre one. Here’s the book, it is called, “Your Senior Housing Options.”

Depending on your senior, read it to them or you each read it on your own. Use the tips and advice in the book to find the best senior housing arrangement.

  1. Schedule a luncheon tour at a local retirement community that you have vetted with the tips from the book, “Your Senior Housing Options.”

If this article struck a cord with you, please share it on social media to help a friend or neighbor going through a struggle with a senior.

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 “7 Deadly Sins of Searching for Senior Housing Options.”

News Flash: Diane Masson’s interview on Generation Bold Radio broadcasted 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.

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.

Scrooge or Sales with Holiday Calls??!!??

Scrooge or Sales with Holiday Calls??!!??

Don't Be a Scrooge in Senior Living Sales

Don’t Be a Scrooge in Senior Living Sales

All you have is the present to increase your occupancy.  Resident holiday parties, festivities, live entertainment and decorating the retirement community can distract senior living sales from the purpose of filling the building.  It’s easy to get stinking thinking and decide that no one wants to move right now and every senior is busy preparing for Christmas.  Wrong!!!

If you are reading this blog today, it is not too late to get humming again.  Let me give you some current examples from two successful Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) in Southern California:

  • 11 CCRC move-ins scheduled during December at one CCRC and another has six move-ins set.
  • A $5000 deposit was collected yesterday for a December CCRC move-in.
  • One senior living sales person, who had 139 calls for the week said, “This is the best time of year to make calls and learn vital information about prospective seniors families.”
  • When a senior came in for a holiday event, they shared that it was their holiday meal, because they had sat at home eating a “Lean Cuisine” on Thanksgiving.
  • Another senior shared that this was her last year to host Christmas for the entire family.  She was exhausted and said she was ready to sell her home and move in early 2014.
  • Many calls said, “I am not ready, let me get through the holidays and let’s talk the first week in January.”  (Whom will this senior be talking about with his or her adult children over the holidays?  The family will most likely come in to tour around Christmas.)

You can learn so much if you make calls this time of year.  Don’t be a scrooge and not believe.  Be Tiny Tim and make a lonely seniors day by reaching out with a holiday phone call.  Create an emotional connection with a senior now and watch how quickly they move into your senior living community in 2014.

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.

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