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Taking the Leap

Updated: Oct 6, 2022



It will not come as a surprise to many people that making the decision to move to senior living can be hard. While I have had plenty of clients who looked forward to a living situation where they no longer have to maintain a house, cook, and drive long distances to socialize, many more looked at the change with a fair amount of anxiety. People have spent years building a life in a place and sometimes they don’t recognize when the good parts start to slip away.


This was certainly true for my father. He had an active and fulfilling retirement for years, but that slowly eroded over time. His friends moved away, he was no longer able to play tennis or golf, and eventually he was not able to drive safely. By the time my family and I intervened, he was isolated in his home, watching TV all day and taking walks alone. We could see he was starving for a social connection. He had figured out how he could “get by,” but not how how to have a good quality of life. Still, he insisted he did not want to make a change. Normally easy going and open to suggestions, he dug in on this topic. It took an organized message from many people to convince him. We had cousins, sisters, and friends calling every day for a month, delivering the same message. Finally, he relented.


Family members often feel like their loved one is unique in the strength of their objections, but it’s really quite common. I have found that the key to overcoming those objections is to involve your loved ones’ entire community. It is often not enough for the message to come from their children. Asking a trusted doctor, friends, and close neighbors to weigh in can often be the tipping point. If they are uncomfortable issuing that message in person, a letter or email can be just as impactful.


I wish my father had moved to senior living earlier than he did. A month after he arrived, he told me the same thing. He couldn’t figure out how he had developed such a block to it and was so grateful for the work we put in to convince him. It can be hard to see the benefits of a change when you are on the front end of it. With love, understanding and a little work, that barrier can be broken.


Penny Brandt-Roy helps clients find senior communities in the Metro Atlanta area. For more information on her free service, visit www.orchidsenior.com.



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