As your parents get older, chances are that they will want to stay in their own home rather than moving to a retirement community. However, their current home may not be well suited to the needs of aging adults and could even present some dangers to them living independently.
Talking to your parents about moving before there is a health crisis is important. Your ultimate goal should be to do what is best to keep your parents healthy and safe.
Here are some things to keep in mind when planning a discussion with your parents about moving.
Setting up the Conversation About Moving
Start by acknowledging your parents’ feelings for their home. Talk about the family gatherings and shared history in the home, so they see that you understand and value the emotional aspect of this conversation.
Later, you can transition into different financial and physical challenges to maintaining their home. This will help in getting suggestions regarding how you can make things better and easier for them. In some cases it may involve installing adaptive aids such as grab bars and lower sinks. In other cases it may mean encouraging a move to a continuing care community that can meet their current- and future- needs.
Focus on Other Important Points of Moving
Older adults who have paid-off mortgages, particularly if they live in a high-cost area, might have a lot of equity built up in their homes. Their financial goals when they purchased their home probably included paying off the mortgage to live “rent free” in retirement. You could point out to them that the equity in their home would go much further in a smaller home that is designed to meet their changing needs. Once they move into a retirement community, they will never have to move again.
Do research on different communities in the area that would appeal to your parents. If possible, include them on the visits so they can be part of the process. The tours will allow your parents to participate in choosing their new community.
One key benefit of retirement communities is easy socializing. Your parents can make new friends and try new activities, rather than being isolated at home.
For many older adults, attachment with family and the community is what keeps them feeling young and vibrant. If their children and grandchildren are not living nearby, this distance can result in problems. For some families, proximity to children and grandchildren is the major factor in the decision to move. For others, choosing the right community depends on the amenities, programs, and opportunities for enrichment and sense of community.
Discuss the Benefits of Retirement Communities
When looking at your parents’ home, you should consider two phases: the period when they may wish to make things easier, and the time when they can no longer live completely independently.
Only 33% of owner-occupied homes have fundamental accessibility features, including a no-step entrance and a bedroom and full bath on the first floor. In fact, very few people have such important features like fully-accessible doorways wide enough for a walker or wheelchair and a kitchen with easily-accessible storage.
There are some things you can do to retrofit your parents’ house to meet their changing needs, and the best time to consider these is when they are still healthy and active. Depending on the changes required, remodeling can be expensive, and the result may not be as good as a new property that was built with certain accommodations in mind.
You may point out to your parents that if they wait for a crisis like an illness or a fall, they might wind up spending extra money for the emergency retrofitting and extra care that could be put in place now. The easiest solution to a potential future crisis is to move into a retirement community where homes are built for safety, and services are available when they need them.
Your parents may be just reaching the age when a conversation about moving to a retirement community is appropriate. At Cornwall Manor, we’ve been having these conversations with families for decades.
Let our experience in retirement living guide you through what may be a difficult transition in your life and the lives of your parents. Contact Cornwall Manor today to set up and appointment and schedule a tour.