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Talking to Your Parents About Independent Living

Talking to your parents about the advantages of independent living communities can be a difficult conversation. They may be hesitant to leave their home and the community they have known for many years. This is only natural, especially if they have strong and positive memories of their existing home.

However, there are many benefits of independent living for seniors, including giving you peace of mind as they get older and need more attention and medical care. But it’s also good for them — the amenities and lifestyle available at an independent living community can be a great way for your parents to enjoy their retirement years to the absolute fullest. If you want to learn some ways to talk to your parents about considering a move to an independent living community, the following strategies might help.

Taking Things One Step at a Time

You’re unlikely to convince your parents to move to a retirement community within a single conversation. Instead, you should consider adopting a step-by-step approach that addresses the issue over time. This will prevent your parents from feeling rushed or pushed into the decision. Here are some steps you can consider when talking to your parents about independent living communities.

  1. Start by having a general conversation about their retirement plans. Find out what they are looking forward to and what their concerns are. This will help you to understand their perspective and to tailor your conversation accordingly.
  2. Explain the benefits of moving to a senior independent living. Highlight the fact that independent living communities offer a variety of amenities and services that can make your parents’ lives easier and more enjoyable. For example, many independent living communities offer exceptional dining options so your parents never have to cook anymore and can easily eat with friends whenever they want. They also tend to include amenities like swimming pools, fitness centers with trainers, and opportunities to practice or learn new hobbies.
  3. Address their concerns. It is likely that your parents have some concerns about moving to an independent living community. For example, they may be worried about losing their independence or about having to give up their home. Be prepared to address these concerns head on. Reassure them that they will still have plenty of independence in an independent living community (it’s baked into the name, after all). They can have a car on campus, travel whenever they want, and generally live their life exactly as they prefer, except in an environment with better security and that is better able to handle their changing needs as they age. They will also of course be able to keep their belongings and decorate their apartment or home to their liking.
  4. Encourage them to visit an independent living community. One of the best ways to help your parents understand the advantages of independent living is to encourage them to visit some. This will give them a chance to see what it is like firsthand. They can meet the staff, see the amenities, and talk to other residents. In fact, this is often the deciding factor in someone’s process – once your parents see what independent living looks like, they can often see why it’s so appealing.

Why Independent Living Communities are Often a Great Fit

Many people hear “retirement community” and immediately balk because of their own – often incorrect – preconceptions of what that looks like. This may apply to your parents as well. In this case, it’s very helpful to highlight the many benefits of moving to an independent living community. Here’s some of the independent living advantages you can talk about with your parents:

  • Maintenance-free living. Independent living communities take care of all the maintenance and upkeep of the apartments and homes. This can free up your parents’ time so they can focus on enjoying their retirement. In other words: no more lawn care and shoveling, and no more worrying about home maintenance like a broken water heater or replacing a roof.
  • Social activities and fitness programs. Independent living communities offer a variety of social activities and fitness programs for residents. This can help your parents to stay active and engaged.
  • Transportation services. Independent living communities typically offer transportation services for residents. This can be helpful for residents who no longer drive or who do not want to drive. This also often includes excursions into town, for shopping or to see a show, and the like.
  • Meal plans. Independent living communities often offer meal plans for residents. This can be a convenient and affordable way for your parents to eat healthy meals. Many communities offer fine dining from professional chefs. Think of it like a cruise ship without the water.
  • Independent living communities typically have security features in place to protect residents, including being gated. This can give your parents peace of mind knowing they are safe. Other security measures include security for their health, such as support bars in the bath and single-story homes to prevent having to walk up and down stairs. Additionally, if your parents move into a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), their long-term health is supported as well. That’s because CCRCs have assisted living and skilled nursing care on campus, often for no increase to the existing monthly fee.

Guidance on Talking to Your Parents About Retirement Living

If your parents are still hesitant to move after learning the benefits of independent living for seniors, consider offering to help them with the process. You can assist in research to find a community that is a good fit for their needs and budget. You can also help them to pack and move their belongings. Remember that moving to an independent living community can be a big decision, but it can also be a great way for your parents to enjoy their retirement years. By having a frank and honest conversation with your parents and by addressing their concerns, you can help them to make the best decision for them.

The conversation you have with your parents is going to be unique to your relationship. This means that every approach isn’t going to be universal. That said, there are some other things to keep in mind when talking to your parents about an independent living community. First and foremost, be patient and understanding with your parents. It may take some time for them to come to terms with the idea of moving to an independent living community. Additionally, it’s critical to be respectful of their wishes and to be supportive of their process. If your parents are not ready to move, don’t pressure them. However, you can offer to help your parents with the moving process and to visit them regularly at their new home.

It's Time to Start Talking to Your Parents About Independent Living

Your relationship with your parents is as important as it is complex. You want to be there for them and to ensure they’re experiencing the best life has to offer. This can sometimes mean having challenging conversations with them where you or they might feel uncomfortable. This goes double when talking about retirement living arrangements with your parents. In this case, it’s important to remember that the most important thing is to have an open and honest conversation with your parents about their retirement plans. By working together, you can find a solution that works for everyone involved.

Start the conversation today and explore the advantages of independent living at any of the 27 Acts Retirement-Life Communities around the country.

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