If one or both of your aging parents are living in a home that’s now too big for them, you may think it’s time for them to consider moving to some place smaller and more manageable, maybe even a senior living community.
You may have even tried broaching the subject with them, but heard responses like “it’s too soon for something like that” or “I’m comfortable here” or “that’s for old people”.
The thing is, they’re still pretty active and can look after themselves. They don’t need help with medications or personal care like you’d find in assisted living. Still, they seem to be “rattling around” in their own home. Keeping up the place is becoming more and more of a chore for them.
Independent living may be the answer
You’re wondering whether they’d enjoy life more if they moved to a place where property maintenance was looked after for them, housekeeping services were included, and organized social activities were close at hand. They’d still have their own apartment, complete with a kitchen. But if they decided they didn’t want to cook 7 days a week, they could join their neighbors at nearby dining facilities or a group going to a local restaurant.
That’s what independent senior living can be like.
When it’s described that way, it sounds pretty appealing, doesn’t it? Nonetheless, you’re still not sure it will be enough to persuade your parent(s) that moving out of their current home is something worth considering.
Talking about independent senior living
The next time an opportunity comes up to talk to them about independent senior living, here are a few points you might want to keep in mind:
1. Possible payoffs of moving to independent living
Plenty of seniors choose to move to independent living apartments every year, recognizing how it will improve their lifestyle. Here’s a list of reasons why people move. Maybe some of them will resonate with your parent(s).
- They’re tired of all the work involved in maintaining current home
- They lost their spouse and their current home feels empty without them
- A place without stairs makes more sense for them now
- Social programs in a senior living community makes it easier for them to meet new friends and stay active
- Proceeds from sale of their current home will help them fund some of their retirement goals
- Downsizing helps them simplify their life and focus on what’s really important to them
- It’s an opportunity to move closer to your family and their grandkids
- It’s an opportunity to move to a new town where the pace of life suits them better
There’s peace of mind in having access to a senior living community’s health and wellness services should they need them
2. Consider what might be holding them back
Maybe you’ve tried to sell them on the benefits of independent senior living, but they’re still reluctant to consider it. Remember, change is hard. And moving out of a house filled with memories and belongings accumulated over the years may simply be too overwhelming for them to consider.
The good news is they don’t have to do it all themselves, if they don’t want to. If you’re willing to help, let them know. There are also a growing number of professionals who focus on helping downsizing seniors, including real estate agents and senior move managers. If they’re concerned about the amount they’ll have to spend to get their current home ready for sale, they may want to consider an as-is home buyer.
3. Mention friends who’ve already moved to independent senior living
Your parent(s) may still be reluctant to take your advice. But if they were to hear from someone in their social circle who’s already moved to independent living and is enjoying life there, that could be a game-changer. If you know of such a person, don’t be afraid to drop their name into a conversation. “Hey, Mom. I heard so-and-so moved to such-and-such a place…”
4. Give them time to think about it
Remember: you’re asking your parent(s) to make a major life decision. If at all possible, give them time to sit with it a while. Avoid nagging them. Don’t forget how much you hated it when they nagged you as a kid. More often than not, it probably just made you dig in your heels.
For more on this topic, check out our handy guide, “Should You Stay or Should You Go? How to Decide Between Home and Senior Living.”