October 29, 2015

How to Talk to Your Adult Child About Senior Living

Family & Caregiver

Talking about the future takes courage for both seniors and their adult children. Many families resist having conversations about a senior loved one’s desire to downsize and move.

It can be uncomfortable at first to confront the reality that you’re both growing older and that your lives may be changing. Grown children may be concerned about a parent’s long-term well-being or be sad about letting go of their childhood home.

If you’re contemplating a move to a senior living community for yourself or for a loved one, you’re in good company. A survey by The Demand Institute found that over one-half of baby boomers want to downsize, and that the trend is more common for seniors living in Northern climates like Seattle. Close to forty percent of seniors plan to move to a new home in the next year.

Yet, more than ninety percent of those surveyed in a study by Genworth Financial haven’t talked about critical long-term care issues, including senior living arrangements, with their spouse or adult children.

Now is the time to talk with your family about your desire to live independently. These tips can help you navigate the conversation successfully and help your family talk about the future – free of stress and frustration. Talking with a Long-Term Care Consulting firm may also be extremely helpful in planning your future needs as a senior.

Follow the 40/70 Rule

Start the discussion about moving and downsizing early. Financial experts suggest following the 40/70 rule: kicking off the senior living conversation when adult children hit 40 and their parents reach the age of 70.

Planting the seed about your desire to move makes the conversation less threatening for adult children who may fear change. It ensures your wishes as well your family’s can be shared, heard, and discussed without pressure. You can say, “I know this is hard to talk about, but I want to make sure my wishes are honored. In order for me to do that, I need you to know what they are. I’m not making any decisions about moving today, but it’s important to me that we have this conversation as a family starting now.”

Listen to your family’s concerns

Once you’ve brought up the topic, listen to how your adult children, grandchildren, and family feel. What are their worries and hopes for the future? They may have concerns about finances or wonder what would happen to you in the event of an emergency.

Ask open-ended questions to get a better feel for their reaction to your retirement plans and don’t brush off their anxieties. Instead, make a list of their concerns about your decision to downsize or move. Address these as you explore different senior living options around the Greater Seattle area.

Focus on the positives

Communicate to your family what you will gain by continuing to live independently as you grow older. Active retirement living helps seniors stay physically and socially active, which not only helps boost happiness, but also protects against illness and chronic disease like arthritis and even depression.

By describing to your family why continuing to pursue your passions and hobbies is important to you, you’ll help them come around to more easily accepting change.

Sitting your adult children down to talk about senior living can be difficult, but it’s necessary to fulfill your retirement wishes. By starting the conversation early and listening to your family, you can ensure that the conversation is a healthy and productive one.