As a child to an older parent, you’re likely to be one of the first to recognize signs that it may be time for them to make a change in their lifestyle and living situation.
There are a few key signs that your parents are reaching a point in their life where they need more help or need to make some changes to their accommodations. It’s time to have a conversation about moving or making changes to their living arrangements if you recognize any of these signs:
- You’re getting called more frequently to help with things like paying bills, home repairs, or transportation;
- You catch them forgetting about basic tasks like turning off the stove;
- You notice the fridge and cupboards aren’t as well-stocked or that you’re finding more spoiled food around, indicating trouble getting to the grocery store or difficulty with cleaning;
- Issues with your parents forgetting to take medications.
The conversation about age and living arrangements can be a tough one. You should be prepared before broaching it. Here are a few tips that can help you get ready for the talk.
Do Your Research
Approach the conversation well-informed before you make a suggestion. Make sure you discover your options as there may be more to retirement living than you think.
You have a broad range of options beyond nursing homes and memory care facilities. Increasingly, retirement residences are focusing on independent living and hybrid independent assisted living. Luxury retirement residences have really changed the game.
Listening to your parents first can help you open up the conversation. Find out what they want and what they’ve thought about their own futures.
Not only does this break the ice in the conversation, but it’s also important to remember that the topic of conversation is their own future. Just getting them to start talking about it can be a big step forward.
Talking to Siblings
You also need to bring siblings and other close family members into the conversation. It’s not uncommon for siblings with closer contact with aging parents to disagree with other siblings about their parents’ future.
Living close by to your parents and seeing them more often means you may see how they’re really doing better than siblings who live farther away and may only see them on holidays or special occasions.
Talk About Money
Money can be a taboo conversation in many families, but if you’re talking about retirement, living arrangements, and elder care, it has to be on the table. You need to know what your parents can afford and how much you and your siblings can provide support to your parents.
The first step is having a realistic budget. The next is doing the work of finding out the real costs of each possible solution. Given the costs of home care, you may be surprised how much your family could save by opting for a retirement community.
The conversation can be a difficult one, but it’s important to have it before a crisis occurs that forces your family to make an urgent decision. Having to act after an emergency can be more expensive and you may not have time to fully research your options.