You’ve made the choice and decided that independent living is your best next step. Maybe it wasn’t a difficult decision at all. Who can resist the low-maintenance lifestyle, convenient wellness resources, and luxury amenities independent living offers? Add in friendly neighbors who are always ready to join in a yoga class with you or who aren’t afraid to try out being your pickleball partner, and it’s no wonder you are feeling more excited than anxious about your decision.
However, you might feel a bit wary about bringing up senior living with your adult children or other family members. If you believe they might have some concern for independent living, it can dampen your excitement about your new transition.
We’ve pulled together some of the most common concerns family members initially have about independent living to offer some ways for you to set their minds at ease. In most cases, family members are simply not aware of the vibrant communities independent living residences are today. Here’s how you can educate them.
The first question you might hear when you tell a family member that you are exploring living at an independent living community is, “How are you going to pay for that?” Your family members have likely seen the expansive campuses that independent living communities sit on, and they may have heard stories from their friends about loved ones not being able to afford senior care.
Set their minds at ease by telling them about how a predictable monthly fee at an independent living community actually makes budgeting easier. That monthly fee often includes rent, utilities, events, and a flexible meal plan, along with access to amenities and maintenance services. Then, let them know how that monthly, nearly all-inclusive fee compares to your monthly bills when living at home. They will likely be surprised by how comparable the two numbers are.
If they still are concerned, and if you are comfortable, invite them to attend an appointment with you and your financial advisor. This extra step can often give them the peace of mind they need to give you their blessing for moving.
Emotions Tied to Downsizing
If you are moving out of the home your adult children grew up in or have strong emotional ties to, you might find they are resisting your move because they will simply miss your home. This is common; there are so many emotions and memories tied to the places we have lived. Remember, your children shared secrets with their siblings in their bedrooms, played hide-and-seek with neighbors in the backyard, and celebrated their engagement in your dining room. Knowing they won’t have this home to return to can make it difficult for them to be excited about your move.
To ease their transition, involve them as much as possible in celebrating and saying goodbye to your home. Ask them to help sort through your possessions as you rightsize and pare down, giving them permission to take something from your “giveaway” pile that they would love to have at their own home. Invite them to share a final meal around the table before your home’s closing date, or host one final backyard bonfire with the whole family before you put the home on the market.
If your family feels that they’ve had a chance to say “thank you” and “goodbye” to your home, they are more likely to send you into your new home with positive feelings.
Worries About Family Gatherings
If your home was the place to be when holidays, birthdays, or other special occasions rolled around, you might find that your family members are wondering what will happen to their gatherings when you move to independent living. Again, as the matriarch or patriarch of your family, many of your family’s traditions are likely centered around your table.
Remind your loved ones that you are still happy to host at your new independent living home. This is a great time to show them your new home’s floor plan, pointing out all the space you have to entertain. You can also use this time to give them a virtual tour of the community itself, showing them community spaces that would be ideal for your family events, like the private dining room, living room, or outdoor patio.
If your family is actively involved in helping you out at home, they may worry that you won’t get that type of attention at an independent living community. For example, they might wonder who will bring you Sunday dinner or if anyone will be able to help you get to the store on Wednesdays.
This is the ideal time to introduce your family to the amenities and wellness resources available in your new community. Educate them about your flexible dining plan and how you can grab a meal at the restaurant when you don’t feel like cooking. You can also tell them about the robust transportation services and how you can make an appointment with the community’s nurse if you have any questions about your new medication prescription.
Invite and Involve
You already love your new independent living community, or you love the idea of independent living, but it can be helpful to get your family members on the bandwagon too. If you’re comfortable, invite them to come on a tour with you so they can see the community, meet key team members, and ask questions. Chances are, they’ll catch your excitement once they see a community for themselves.
Want to learn more about independent living or inform your family members about the option? Download our free resource, “Everything You Need to KnowAbout Independent Living.”