How to Talk About Senior Living With Your Adult Children
More often than not, families tend to stall conversations about moving to a senior living community. It’s understandable — the topic brings up other more difficult ones like selling a childhood home or acknowledging that we are all growing older.
The reality is that while it’s your choice to move to a retirement community, that choice will have an impact on your family members. By talking with your adult children about why you want to move and the life you can create for yourself, you can make the impact of your move a positive one for everyone.
Prepare for Your Conversations With Your Children
- Be Ready to Answer Questions
- Share Your Needs
- Invite Them on a Tour
- Talk Openly About Finances
- Get Them Excited About Your Future Early
Be Ready to Answer Questions
Your children will likely ask questions after learning that you are moving to a senior living community. Often moving to a senior living community is associated with poor health instead of a lifestyle change. Beginning your conversation with the aspects of what made you interested in learning more about senior living communities (relief from home maintenance responsibilities, freedom to pursue the lifestyle that you desire, being surrounded by a great social setting, etc.) can help ease their concerns.
Luckily, their questions are pretty similar to the ones you had at the start of your research, so you should feel more confident answering them.
Consider things like:
- Why do you want to move to a senior living community?
- Is everything okay? Are you okay?
- When do you want to move?
- What will you do with the house?
- How big is the space you want to move to?
- How much does it cost?
- What does the community offer in terms of food or long-term care?
During your conversation, it might help to have some pens and paper out in case someone wants to jot down notes. You may also want to have a few community brochures on hand for your children to take home. If your children live far away, email them the links to your top senior living communities. They’ll be able to research the community on their own which can give them the time and space to process your decision.
Even after reading the brochures, your children will likely still have questions. That’s okay! After they’ve accepted your decision, they can become helpful advocates as you make your final community selection. You might even come to appreciate the questions they come up with from their adult child point of view.
Share Your Needs
It’s natural for children to have a strong desire to protect and safeguard their parents. So after hearing about your decision to move to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), they’ll likely want to help you but may not know how. Or, they may try to help in areas that you’ve already covered.
A better way to include your children in your journey is to tell them specifically what you need. Before your conversation, think about your needs and list them out.
- Do you need help choosing between two communities?
- Do you need help selling your home?
- Do you need help finalizing your finances?
Share the list with your adult children and ask for their help. Children that feel included in the process will likely have less worry or anxiety about your future move to a retirement community, having played a role in the process themselves.
Invite Them on a Tour
Even if you’ve already toured your dream community, consider a second tour with your adult children. Show them why you fell in love with the community in the first place. Talk with them during the tour about things on campus that excite you. At Concordia, we often encourage tour members to join us for a meal with their potential new neighbors or participate in an event or outing — this is a great way to experience the community lifestyle.
Your children may also fall in love with the community, and perhaps for different reasons. Seeing the on-site care options, for example, might put your children at ease knowing you’ll be taken care of in the future.
Experiencing the community first-hand can make visiting you in the future less overwhelming or scary for your adult children. They may not understand that senior living today looks and feels very different from a nursing home. The important thing is that after the tour, both of you can picture you living happily in the community.
Talk Openly About Finances
Cost is the biggest concern not just for older adults, but their adult children too. And unfortunately, money can be a difficult conversation topic.
While you do not have to go into the details, you can present your children with an overarching plan of how you will finance the move to a retirement community or CCRC. Come prepared with community costs and a list of what’s included in that cost. You may even want to share the link to our cost calculator.
It may be wise to talk about future finances too. If your care needs do change, one of the advantages of living in a CCRC, like Concordia, is that you can easily transition to assisted living or memory care without having to move to a different community or pay additional fees.
Get Them Excited About Your Future Early
Some financial experts suggest discussing senior living with adult children when they reach the age of 40. This approach slowly introduces children to the concept of senior living, helping them prepare for your ultimate decision to move to one.
It’s important to center the conversation on your needs and feelings. What will a community offer you that you don’t have already? Maybe it’s a community of peers that you can build friendships with. Maybe it’s the freedom of no longer having to do home maintenance chores. Or maybe it’s peace of mind knowing that you’ll be someplace where all your needs can be met by healthcare professionals.
- Help your children understand how senior living can benefit them by learning about the challenges family caregivers face
- Prepare for your conversation by sharing Concordia’s Guide to Senior Living with your children. This can give them baseline knowledge to facilitate a productive conversation.
- Read stories from Concordia families that have had similar conversations and the resulting positive impact
Deciding to move to a senior living community is a big step for you and for those who love you. To ease everyone’s worries and make the transition as smooth as possible, routinely discuss the possibility of senior living together.
Don’t be afraid to contact Concordia after one or multiple conversations with your family. Our goal is to help you with future conversations or decision-making by answering your questions. Contact us online or by calling (405) 331-6113.
Health & Aging