If making the transition to retirement living is something you’re considering, it’s time to start talking to your family about it.
Significant changes can make for big (and tricky) conversations. Emotions can run high – especially around issues of ageing. So here are five tips for how to handle what could be a somewhat challenging conversation.
1. Start the conversation sooner rather than later
Announcing your move into retirement living as a done deal might take your family by surprise. If you can, give them a chance to warm up to the idea. This could happen over several conversations so they can come to terms with their parents moving into the next stage of their lives and away from their youth’s nostalgia-filled homes. If you’re already talking to them about what you want out of your retirement, take the opportunity to set the scene for another conversation about the possibility of moving into retirement living.
2. Listen to your family’s concerns
Your kids may think a move to retirement living is a fantastic idea – maybe they were even thinking of suggesting it themselves and will be thrilled you beat them to the punch!
However, it just as easily might throw them. The thought of Mum and Dad no longer living in the family home could be confronting or upsetting.
Hear them out. Let them voice their concerns, express any reluctance and be prepared to answer lots of questions. Again, a series of conversations rather than one big sit down meeting will allow you to explore options together and help them feel involved.
3. Be clear about your reasons for considering retirement living
Help your family understand why you’re thinking about retirement living. It could be that maintaining your own home has become too burdensome, that you might need a bit of extra care and support as you grow older, that you’d prefer the security of a retirement community, or that you’d like to participate in the social life and recreation that retirement living can offer. They will want what’s best for you but might have difficulty seeing it from your perspective. The better they understand the reasons behind your decision, the easier it will be for them to accept and support it.
4. Ask for your family’s help
Getting your children or other family members in on the decision making process could help them come to terms with it. Moreover, it could be helpful for you to have different sets of eyes on the associated costs and logistics of making a move. Talking to your kids about retirement living might bring up issues you hadn’t otherwise considered and they’ll be able to help research the best options for you. Navigating finances, transport, potential locations and selling or renting your existing home can be stressful and will take time. The process of moving itself can be very daunting. Giving your family a chance to support you in the process could make it easier for everyone. Even visiting possible retirement communities together will help all of you build confidence around your decision.
5. Make a plan for the next steps
Be specific in your planning and work together, so there are no surprises about anything from costs and who is paying them to where the childhood mementos currently taking up space in the attic will go. It’s a good idea to write these things down so everyone is on the same page. Clarity around moving dates and who gets first dibs on the living room furniture can prevent misunderstanding and conflict further down the line.
Whether you’re planning to retire, are still thinking about your options, or have made a firm decision, it’s a change that’s likely to impact other close family members, particularly your grown children.