Dear Small Steps


Dear M,

My mother has been living alone in the house I grew up in since my father passed away four years ago. She seems to be lonely and I worry about her. I’ve suggested she go to the local senior center to meet people but she says it’s not what she wants to do. Sometimes I think that she should maybe move into an assisted living nearby. How do I get her to do this?

Dear Small Steps,

First and foremost is for you to spend some time reflecting on what you are thinking about her and what you are wanting for her. Is it what you want or is it what she wants? Is it possible that your mother might want what comes out of going to a senior center or residing in an assisted living? Yes, but she doesn’t necessarily know how to make it happen. Socialization is what I think you are wanting for her. She too may want friendships and conversations. She is surely accustomed to the comfort zone of her home. Getting out to such a place is most likely a road she has never traveled on before and may need a bit of shepherding. 

Look in the local newspaper or contact a senior center and/or an independent /assisted living community in her area and find out what events may be coming up on the calendar. There are often speakers on a range of topics and/or music and art performances.  These are intentionally planned by the communities to be “an icebreaker.” You and your mother or someone else might go there to hear a speaker or to view an art show. While there, your mother would naturally look around her at the surroundings. She would notice other people. Of course, If one is feeling desirous of a tour, it is always available. Sometimes just going to the event is the point of entry. Small steps.

Yours truly,

Elder Care Industry Pioneer. Aging Expert. Founder & Managing Director of Elder Care Consultants of Choice. Mom & Daughter. Silver-Haired Queen of Purple.

To submit your question, click here. Meredith selects one and posts a reply biweekly. To read more of her letters, click here