How do I convince my mom to move to a senior community?

My mom says she going to be carried out.. feet first from her home… what do I do?

For many people, the idea of moving from one’s home to a senior community is a very difficult concept to accept.  Adult children are usually faced with the challenge of knowing something needs to done, but mom has dug in her heals and tells you she is not going anywhere.  This is especially difficult when multiple family members have different points of view.

Since your mom is the one living at the senior community, she can never be pressured into this decision. She needs to be on-board with the choice she is making.  Mom will never going to be happy if she is “put” somewhere or if she moves reluntantly.  She needs to feel good that she is doing the right thing for all the right reasons. Yes, it will be an emotional roller coaster, but in the end, your mom will be a happier resident and will adjust much faster.

So, how do you make moving to senior community happen?

First, you need to understand your mom’s mindset.  People of her generation either lived at home or went to a nursing home.  There was no in-between.  Today, there are beautiful senior communities that offer services and amenities similar to a cruise ship.  People who live at these communities are not nursing home patients. They are vibrant, independent, fun-loving  people who have planned ahead for their future health care needs.  Moving from her home is not giving up, but instead, embracing a new lifestyle.

Since your mom has probably lived in her home for many years, it is important to understand that packing and moving from her home will stir up many memories and will be emotional for her.  Share with her that her memories are not going to disappear when she moves. She will be able to bring her own furniture and her cherished items.  Moving is never easy; however, it can be exciting and fun.  Help her decorate her new place.  Maybe it’s time for a new flat sceen tv!

If your siblings are not in agreement with this decision, ask them 1). Are they prepared to care for mom as she requires for assistance?   (2) Are they prepared financially to pay for home health care should mom need it? And (3) What truly is in mom’s best interest… socially, nutritionally, psychologically, medically and physically?

Use these following tips to help you discuss the senior community option with your mom:

1).  Have the talk!   This is probably the hardest task to do, but it is the most important.  I am sure your mom does not want to be not be a burden to her chidren and it is something that worries her a great deal.  Even though many people are in state of denial, they still realize on some level that they are not able to do all the things that they used to do.  Tell her that you are not pressuring her and that it needs to be her decision, but you are going to start looking into places that she might want to consider “down the road.”     You may also want to point out that if she continues to stay in her home and her health declines, her options will be much more limited and the dreaded nursing home might be necessary.  Trust me, nursing homes are filled with people who thought that they would never thought that they would move from their home.

2). Gather information.  Senior Housing Solutions can help narrow down the choices so you are not calling every place in town.  Ask for a “full” brochure to review before committing to a visit. Do not give out your mom’s phone number (and make a point to tell them not to call her). You may want to provide them your mom’s address so they can send invitations to special events and parties to your mom since this is an excellent way to introduce the community’s lifestyle to her.  Even though she might not attend, she can at least start seeing the types of programs and activities that community is hosting.

3).  Start your research early.  Many senior communities will have wait lists; therefore, when mom is ready to move, you want to make sure she is high up on the wait list. Some senior communities will have a ‘no strike’ wait list, meaning that if the senior community notifies you of an available apartment, you can elect to ‘pass’ and not get penalized or put to the bottom of the list.  Some senior communities will have a  medical criteria to be accepted; therefore, you don’t want to wait for something to happen medically to force the decision.  Planning ahead is the key!

3).  Narrow the choices down before bringing mom along.  Yes, it is important that mom is involved in the decision process; however, touring multiple places will be exhausting and confusing.  Your mom will be so tired that she will never want to move… anywhere.

4).  Sample activities and dinner at the community. If your mom likes to play cards, maybe she can attend a group of card players for an afternoon of fun.  The community should be agreeable to allow this to occur.  Enjoying dinner (not lunch) at the community is another way that your mom can get a good feel of the lifestyle.  Go with her, but see if you can dine with some other residents.   Sit back and let the magic happen.

5).  Call in the experts.  At Senior Housing Solutions, we have helped hundreds of people through this decision process.  We understand.   Many times, we will visit someone in the comfort of their own home and discuss the various options that are available.  Since we are an independent third party, we are able to objectively and openly discuss all the issues and work through all the objections.  For more information, go to

Once the decision is made, your job is not over.  Your mom will have many peaks and valleys with this decision and it is important to help her stay focused on all the reasons why she has decided to move at this time.   If it has been awhile since you’ve visited the chosen community, go back and have another meal.  You may also want the community representative to show your mom some apartments again.   Some communities will offer guests apartments for trial stays.  Some people like this idea of “trying out” a place before the actual move; however, it could also backfire since living in a guest apartment is much different than living in your own apartment with all of your own belongings.

We will discuss the move transition in another blog; however, one piece of advice is “don’t take away the keys to the car” as soon as your mom moves. Remember, her whole issue is about giving up indepedence, therefore if you take away her ability to drive, you are confirming this to her.  It will come, especially if the community provides transporation services, but tread lightly.

Topic:  senior community