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Senior Living: Starting the Conversation with Your Adult Children

Posted at 10:47 AM, Nov 23, 2020

Making the move to a senior living community is a big decision. Whether you’re just beginning to consider a move or you’ve already found a community that’s right for you, one thing is certain: at some point, you have to tell the kids.

Your adult children may be over the moon about this new chapter in your life. On the other hand, they may be sad to see you move away, or worried about whether senior living is the right choice for you.

What’s the best way to broach this delicate topic with your adult kids? Below are a few tips for easing their worries, addressing their concerns and getting them as excited as you are for your new journey.

Let Them Know It Isn’t Personal

Many older adults live with an adult child for a period of time before moving into a senior living community. If this is the case for you, it may be especially difficult to talk about moving with your child. They may be sad to see you “leave the nest,” or worry that you won’t receive the same love and care at a community as you would at home with family.

It’s important to let them know that you appreciate the help and home they’ve provided, and that your decision to move isn’t personal. Be open about why you’re choosing to move. Perhaps you want to be in a community setting where you can make new friends and have access to programs and activities. Or maybe you’re just ready to let someone else do the chores for once!

Whatever your reason for moving, let them know they haven’t done anything wrong to make you go. You’re simply ready to start a new chapter.

Prepare to Answer Questions

Odds are, your kids are going to have lots of questions about your new living situation. How many square feet is your new apartment? What’s the monthly rent? Are meals provided? What services are covered under Medicaid or Medicare?

If you’re having the conversation in person, it may be helpful to have some brochures on hand for the communities you’re considering. Read them together, or give your kids a copy to take home. If your children live far away, you can also email them the websites of the communities you’re looking into. Having more information may answer many of their questions and put them at ease about your move.

Reassure Them of Your Independence

One misconception about senior living is that it’s a sedentary environment where seniors lose their independence. Your loved ones may be worried that a senior living community is like the stereotypical nursing homes of the sixties or seventies.

But at Brookdale, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Senior living at Brookdale is more like a college campus than a nursing home, with amenities and a wide range of activities and social events organized by staff.

Reassure your children that you will be starting a new chapter in your life where you can continue to grow, foster your passions and make new friends.

Be Open about Finances

When it comes to senior living, a major concern for many families is the cost. Your children may be concerned about how you plan to finance your move. On one hand, their concern may feel invasive, but on the other, it’s understandable — no one wants to see their parents wracked with debt or quickly spending through their retirement savings during their golden years.

If your children are concerned about your finances, be open with them about how you intend to make the move possible. You don’t have to go into the details if you aren’t comfortable, but letting them know in general terms how you plan to fund your move may help them feel more secure in the decision.

Involve Them in the Process

If you’re only just beginning to research senior living, your children may want to help you. In the end, where you live is your decision. But inviting your kids to join in the decision-making process may put them at ease — and having a personal assistant to help you out doesn’t hurt, either!

If you’ve already decided where you’ll be living, your kids can still be involved. If they’re nearby, invite them to join you in setting up a garage sale to downsize before the move. Ask them if they’d like to keep heirlooms, sentimental items or valuables before you sell them. Plan a housewarming party together for your new home, or go shopping for some decorations for your new digs.

Moving can be stressful, but it can also be an opportunity to spend some quality time together.

Take Them on a Tour

After talking to your kids about senior living, they may be excited for your new journey. Or, they may still be a bit skeptical. Either way, one of the best ways to reassure them is to take them for a visit.

If you’re still deciding where to live, invite your children to tour with you and help you choose your new home. Or, if you’ve already found a senior living community you’re excited about joining, schedule a visit. At Brookdale, we’re always happy to take visitors around campus.

Still Have Questions?

If you or your loved one has questions about senior living at Brookdale, we’re here to help. Give us a call at (313) 725-9951.