7 Things Not to Say to Someone Living in a Retirement Community
12 Jul 2017
When you visit a friend or loved one who has recently moved into a retirement community, you may wonder what you should say to start conversation about their adjustment to their new living environment. There are a ton of things you can and should say to offer encouragement and show them you care. Be sure to ask them about their favorite activities, or maybe they have a funny story to share. But most importantly, remember to be mindful of your words. Sometimes even a well-meaning question can come across the wrong way. Here are a few things you should avoid saying to someone living in a retirement community.
Why don’t your children take care of you?
It’s a personal decision to move into a retirement community. Asking someone why their children aren’t taking care of them can come across harsh and judgmental. Many people choose to live in a retirement community so that their children are not burdened with being the primary caregiver. This allows them to maintain a rich relationships as parent and child.
Don’t you miss your independence?
It’s inaccurate to assume that any independence is lost in a retirement community. In fact, independence is often gained. In a retirement community, you have a safe and accessible living environment that helps prevent falls or accidents. Also, you have access to 24-hour care that gives you peace of mind to live freely knowing quick and qualified help is on site at all times.
What do you do all day?
The same could be asked of anyone! Asking this question may make your loved one feel like you think they are bored or lazy. There are lots of activities that take place in a retirement community, likely more so than the activities made available to someone living on their own! Residents can choose from hobbies and events that interest them, plus it’s easy and accessible for them to partake in these activities.
Are holidays lonely?
At the Middletown Home, we take special care to make holidays a festive and joyous celebration. Even when family may not be able to visit over the holidays, our residents know they will have plenty of friends by their side to enjoy the day. In fact, holidays are likely to be a lot less lonely in a retirement community than someone living on their own without family nearby.
Are you able to make friends?
In a retirement community, residents have every opportunity to foster friendships. We plan events and activities, encourage socialization, and our staff personally takes an interest in building a friendship with our residents. The number of friendships you make is up to the individual person. Asking your loved one if they are able to make friends can come across intrusive, even if not intended.
Do you miss getting out?
This question makes it sound like you are assuming your loved one doesn’t get to leave their room. At the Middletown Home, we help each resident get to wherever they want to go! That could be as close as enjoying an afternoon on the patio, or making arrangements to help them run errands or get to a doctor’s appointment. Unlike living alone, residents in a retirement community comes with a whole staff ready to take you where you want to go.
But you seem perfectly healthy!
It’s simply not true that retirement communities are only for sick people who physically cannot live on their own. Many of our residents choose to live at the Middletown Home long before their physical conditions demand it. They move here fully able to enjoy everything we have to offer! We offer independent living apartments that function like any other apartment, except you have the benefit of our community and resources right outside your front door.