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Look Back, Move Forward

August 01, 2014 by Sherpa

Last week we wrote about the importance of adult children in a prospect’s change process. Adult children can take on roles including advocate, influencer and they also offer a look into their parents’ past to help us understand what motivates the decision-making process.

Why is it important to do a life or legacy review? Mainly to align the prospects’ values and experiences with the decision they are going to have to make. We can pay attention aspects of their story and encourage reflection in terms of:

  • Successful events in the past (traveling when you were younger was “the best thing you ever did,” so why not embark on a different kind of journey?)
  • Sense of self (You pride yourself on being self-sufficient, so how do you feel about your kids taking care of you?)
  • Fears or regrets (You’ve wanted to sell your house for some time, why haven’t you?)

How to conduct a review: The best place to ask legacy or life review questions is anywhere the prospect feels most comfortable. Home visits are a great opportunity to get to know aspects of their lives. Be curious and also understanding about what the prospect is saying about themselves. Pay attention to contradicting statements that bring to light their ambivalence that is likely part of the emotional resistance that’s holding them back. More details on why and how to conduct a life review is described in this post .

Talking about regret: According to a USA Today survey, regrets that can be decades old will shape the attitudes and even health of older adults. (The top sources of regret from respondents 60 years and older were wishing they had saved more money and taken better care of their health; the least common regret was not having planned to live in a community designed for aging.) Without conducting a life review, such unresolved issues will keep older adults from making changes or trying something new.

How do you know the review has been successful? An example illustrated in this article explains an example of an older adult who is dealing with alcoholism and is having a hard time making a lifestyle change. Here is an excerpt:

 Although it was difficult, Ms. V.’s participation in the life review process permitted her to openly discuss events from her past that were sources of shame and embarrassment without fear of judgment or condemnation. Through the use of affirmation, unconditional positive regard, and validation, Ms. V. eventually arrived at a point of self-acceptance.

As a sales counselor, getting into the emotional and psychological aspects of a prospect’s move to senior housing may seem outside of the job description. But if not you, then who is going to inspire change? Establishing a meaningful relationship with your prospect means getting to know their past and working with them through difficult memories or feelings. It is time well spent and will increase the chances of a prospect making positive changes in attitude, not only in discussions with you, but opening up to the possibility of a move to your community.

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