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Tips on How to Approach this Topic with Your Mom or Dad:

1. Assess - What are your parents needs? Do they eat nutritious meals? Are they able to drive? Can they still maintain their home? Are they safe? Do they feel isolated? Are they depressed? Are they able to take care of the bills?

2. Plan - Discuss what your parents may want as they age. "What do you want to happen if you need help in the future? Would you want to move to a senior community? Would you prefer to stay at home with a caregiver? Get some options lined up for the "just in case" or for when a crisis occurs. Your parents will accept help more readily if they are part of the process and have helped you with the decisions.

3. Crisis Situations - If an emergency arises or a hospital stay is required this would be a good time to discuss the necessity for a change in living environment. Either having a caregiver assist them at home or moving to a safer living arrangement would be a good solution to their current situation.

4. Tenacity - Keep the lines of communication open and continue discussing the future. What are your parents concern about moving or hiring a caregiver? What is preventing them from making a decision that will help them live comfortably and safely? Don't give up or wait for a crisis. Aging safely is a very important topic.

5. Tour Now - Seeing is believing. The senior communities of today are bright, hopeful and engaging. The unknown is scary so take that out of the equation. Once your parents realize that moving into a senior community can be fun they may change their mind and ask you to help them move! If they are on the fence then tell them to try a short-term respite stay to see how it goes. Respite stays should be a few months to get a true feeling of the community. Be careful to choose the right community based on your parent's personalities versus the aesthetics.

6. Moving - Moving is scary. Your parents need to know that you'll help in some function while they're moving. Senior Move Managers, such as Paxem, Inc., help through the entire moving process and streamline the move.

7. Include the Family - Everyone needs to know what's happening. Feelings may get hurt or people can feel excluded and may unknowingly sabotage the process. Choose one person that will be the "go to" person for final decisions and for information processing. Not everyone will be involved at the same level or able to help as much as others.

8. Your Parents - Your parents raised you and deserve dignity and respect. They are not your children and don't deserve to be spoken to as such. No one likes being told what to do. Accepting change is difficult. Even if your parent's cognitive ability is diminished they should still be part of the process and feel included.

Be persistent and help your parents through the very difficult aging and transition process. It can be rewarding helping your parents through life's challenges. If you can't give your parents the support they need or help them come to a safe decision, there are always professionals that can help guide and assist you.