Having a conversation about an older adult’s future isn’t something families often do. In fact, it is common for seniors and their adult children to avoid these discussions altogether. Many worry the topic is too sensitive to tackle. Some adult children may even resist talking about downsizing and moving because they mistakenly believe it means a parent’s health is declining.
While the discussion may be awkward at first, it’s important to remember that retirement can be a vibrant time of life. Seniors who’ve worked all of their adult lives finally have the freedom to choose how to spend their time. They can set their own schedules and fill their days with activities they find most meaningful. It all starts with creating a solid plan.
Seniors and Downsizing
While some seniors intend to age in place in their existing homes, others see the benefits of downsizing to a housing solution that is optimal for their retirement lifestyle. Not surprisingly, rightsizing is a popular choice for older adults who reside in northern climates, like Nassau County. Living alone and maintaining a home during winter months can be isolating and burdensome.
If you and your family haven’t had a discussion about the future yet, these tips can help you navigate the conversation with less stress and frustration for everyone.
Discussing a Senior’s Plans for the Future
1.) Follow the 40/70 Rule
Start talking about moving and rightsizing early. Experts suggest following what is known as the 40/70 rule—start discussing a move when adult children hit 40 or their parents reach the age of 70.
If you are an adult child initiating the talk, make it clear your desire is to help your parent live their best life during retirement. Looking ahead is the key to having time to explore options and create a sound plan.
For seniors who are taking the lead in this discussion, planting the seed about moving before there is a health crisis makes the conversation less emotional for an adult child. It also ensures that your intentions for the future will be heard.
2.) Listen to one another’s concerns.
When you sit down to talk, make sure everyone has a voice and an opportunity to share their thoughts. You may be surprised to learn what worries, fears, and hopes your family members have. Your adult child might be concerned that a retirement community will be too expensive and you will run out of money. A grandchild might be sad to see their grandparent’s home sold to a stranger.
Don’t brush off one another’s concerns and anxieties. Instead, make a list of them and figure out a way to address each one together.
3.) Focus on the positives.
Being able to live an active retirement helps seniors stay in better physical shape, as well as maintain a more engaged social life. Both of these benefits increase happiness and lower your risk for certain health conditions, such as diabetes and depression.
Sitting down to talk about the future doesn’t mean having a deep, dark discussion. By starting the conversation early and working together, you can ensure that the conversation is a positive and productive one.
Exploring Continuing Care Retirement Communities
When you are exploring your options for the future, take time to learn more about continuing care retirement communities (CCRC). This is a retirement living option that provides a lifetime of social and cultural activities, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing there are increased levels of care available as circumstances change.
As Nassau County, New York’s only not-for-profit CCRC, The Amsterdam at Harborside offers a worry-free lifestyle. If your retirement dreams include living near Long Island’s Gold Coast, we invite you to call us at 516.472.6636 to schedule a personal tour!