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Start the Conversation Early

Among the clients I have worked with, the families that started talking about the challenges of aging early tended to have the easiest transitions when it was time for their senior loved one to move. It's not enough to drop some hints, though. The key is to come to an agreement on the time to move many years before that time arrives.

Generally the concerns seniors have about moving center around losing their independence. Often, they mistakenly link independence to their house. Ask them about their friends and talk about those who have had a health issue or lost their ability to drive. If they stayed in their house, how is it going? Do they still get to see their friends? How many services to they have to bring in just to keep going there? Is that the quality of life that your parent would want?

At that point, it may be easier for them to see how moving closer to family and the right community can be a fantastic option to that situation. If you wait until they get isolated in their house, depression can set in without anyone realizing it. Once that happens, it can be very difficult to get them to make a rational decision.

If you talk through the issues early, it gives you a chance to decouple "staying in the house" with quality of life. When the time comes to move, you'll all be able to focus on the latter.

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