Thinking about moving is often overwhelming no matter who you are or what your circumstances are. Packing means sorting through years worth of items. If you’ve lived in the same home for many years, the accumulation can be hefty. Now imagine what this means for your senior parent(s) considering a move to a retirement community. The task will likely include downsizing from a larger house into a condo or apartment to start.
Secondly, a shift in mindset might be necessary. Moving into a retirement community feels like a loss of independence for some people. Losing independence in a retirement community is a false stereotype. Many retirement communities encourage ongoing independence by offering choices in dining options (full kitchen in units, restaurants, pubs, patios, etc.), health and wellness services, and community engagement opportunities. This is why it is so important to tour a number of retirement communities to learn about their service and culture before making any decisions.
The most important thing your family can do is start the conversation. Here are five ice breakers:
- Discuss how home maintenance is going. Talk to your parents about the upkeep of their house. How are they managing maintaining landscaping, minor repairs, and general upkeep? If they need help, think about how you can assist whether through sweat labour or research on contractors to help.
- Discuss transportation. Do your parents have easy access to grocery stores and any appointments they need to get to? Is public transportation access important to them? Are they able to access goods and services easily on their own?
- Find out how they are eating. Are they eating fresh and healthy food regularly? Are they content with continuing with preparing all their own meals?
- Ask how they are managing financially. This can be a difficult topic. Discuss with them your own retirement planning. This can be a good way to bridge the conversation.
- Find out about their community. Do they still have friends in their neighbourhood? Do they regularly socialize? Are there events in the community that they are interested in?
Talking to parents about a transition in lifestyle can be challenging. Opening the discussion as it relates to the quality of their lives is important. Wanting to ensure as much independence as possible is a natural instinct for people. Be sure to be respectful and try to put yourself in their shoes. After all, one day we will all be in the same shoes! Tour a few retirement communities to find the right fit.
The team at Tapestry is happy to tour you and your family through our community and answer any questions you have. We meet with and discuss retirement living options with many seniors and their families!