Tips for Discussing Retirement Living Options with Your Parents

Broaching the subject of your parents moving into retirement living can be tricky. On the one hand, you want them to be safe, socially active, and happy (of course).

On the other, you don’t want them to feel like you’re trying to take away their independence. And you certainly don’t want them to resent you for it.

But the truth is, the proportion of retirement age U.S. citizens is on the rise. By 2030, a whopping 73 million Americans—that’s about 1 in 5—will be 65 or older.

And consequently, more people than ever will be having the tough conversation of considering retirement living options with their parents.

This article explores nine essential tips to make that conversation as productive and loving as possible.

Table of Contents

1. Start the Conversation Early

Discussing retirement living options is a delicate topic. And for most families, it requires long conversations about all the feelings, concerns, and logistical issues involved.

That’s why you should start having this conversation before a pressing issue as a health concern arises.

The sooner you start talking about retirement living options, the easier it will be to make the decision once the time comes.

2. Research & Effectively Communicate the Options Available

Daughter sitting with mom to discuss retirement living optionsBe sure to research the various options available before sitting down with your parents.

One topic, in particular, to look at is the different levels of care provided in each of these options.

For instance, independent living communities offer a few convenience services but rarely provide dedicated medical care. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes provide a higher degree of care, but often at the expense of greater autonomy.

There are also certain memory care facilities dedicated to caring for those with specific conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s.

The more you understand about the options available—and the level of care your parents actually need—the easier it will be to explain which options are right for them.

3. Bring in the Family

If you have siblings, try to bring them into the conversation as well.

You may want to reach out to them beforehand so you can discuss all the options and hopefully come to an agreement about what the best option is for your parents.

However, be prepared for disagreements. Many siblings don’t see eye to eye when trying to decide the best retirement living options for parents. That being said, a group discussion is always more beneficial than one sibling making decisions without consulting the rest of the family.

4. Talk About the Future

Senior citizens tend to be surprisingly optimistic about their health.

In fact, a CDC survey found that nearly 1 in 5 adults aged 65 to 74 rated their health as “Excellent.” About 30% rated it as “Very Good” and another 30% as “Good.”

But as we all know, old age brings with it significantly more health risks. And despite the optimism, bad things do happen.

As you’re discussing options with your parents, make sure they’re considering the future.

What will happen if they get sick? What about if there’s an injury around the house? And what if one of them passes? Will they still be able to take care of themselves?

These are all important questions they should be considering in their later years.

5. Let Them Know They Will Always Be Involved in Making the Decisions

One of the most important things to remember is that your parents likely do not want to leave home. And they may very well take this conversation as a threat to their independence.

That’s why it’s so critical to explain that while you want what’s best for them, it’s really their decision in the end.

So when you do agree on a course of action, be sure to involve them as much as possible in choosing the right senior care option for them.

6. Don’t Rush the Issue

Daughter sitting with mom to discuss retirement living optionsWhile it may be tempting to push your parents for a decision in a single conversation, a topic this big is better to dwell on overtime.

Plus, the more time they’ve had to sit with the idea and the various options, the more logical a decision they’re likely to make.

That’s why you should make a point to talk about retirement living options regularly, preferably over several years.

Try to bring it up annually or every 6 months.

And always schedule the conversation with your parents, so everyone’s coming to the table prepared.

7. Touch on the Finances

As with everything, money is going to be a major deciding factor on the right retirement living option for your family.

Generally, the higher the level of care provided, the more expensive that option is going to be.

For instance, nursing homes tend to cost the most. Assisted living facilities are less expensive. And independent living communities are by far the most affordable.

You’ll want to work out what’s financially feasible with your parents and explore all the options during your conversation.

It’s also worth remembering that there are a number of different ways to financially support senior care options as well.

8. Take a Deep Breath

Last but not least, remember to relax.

Retirement living conversations with your parents and siblings can get heated at times. If you aren’t careful, you may end up saying something you’ll regret.

Try to remember that this conversation is coming from a place of love and concern. And as often as you can, try to think of the situation from their point of view.

The more empathetic you are, the easier it will be to find an option that works for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few frequently asked questions most people will have when talking to their parents about their retirement living options.

What Do Seniors Want Most?

For most people, high quality of life during their senior years means staying connected, staying secure, and staying independent.

According to a survey from Aging in Stride magazine, 4 out of 10 seniors said maintaining contact with friends and family was their top concern. About 3 out of 10 pointed to financial stability as their main concern.

On top of that, many older adults have a strong desire to stay autonomous throughout their later years.

That’s why it’s so important to find a retirement community that keeps residents social and safe while still allowing for a comfortable degree of freedom.

What Do the Elderly Need Most?

For most families, ensuring the safety and health of their elderly parents should be priority number one.

As people age, it can become hard for them to take care of themselves. They may neglect cooking for themselves, getting enough exercise, or seeing friends and family.

For those with neglected medical needs, the problems can be even more serious.

A retirement living community offers the services and activities needed to keep older adults healthy, active, and socially connected. Many communities also provide access to medical services to keep your loved one safe.

What Do Seniors Want in a Retirement Community?

Autonomy is typically at the top of the list for desired retirement community qualities.

In fact, it’s why independent living communities are the most popular choices for seniors today.

That being said, the best assisted living facilities will also provide plenty of amenities to help seniors keep their autonomy intact. Amenities like private residences, transportation services, and recreational activities.

Beyond autonomy, seniors also want to feel connected to the community.

Social isolation can be common in older age. According to the CDC, nearly 1 out of 4 adults 65 and older are considered socially isolated. Isolation can also be dangerous since it’s associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia and other serious medical conditions.

As a result, it’s important to find retirement communities that have plenty of social and recreational activities available to keep older adults connected to the community.

Should I Move to a 55+ Community?

Deciding whether or not your parent or loved one should make the move can be tough. But in the end, if they’re struggling with any of the issues below, it’s likely in their best interest to do so.

  • Have trouble maintaining friendships or meeting new people
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like cooking or cleaning
  • Tired of managing complicated finances
  • Need regular medical care they cannot perform themselves
  • Are not as physically active as they should be
  • Lost interest in old hobbies or exploring new interests
  • Are at risk of falling or other injuries around the house

If any of these sounds like your parent, it’s likely in their best interest to find a retirement living community with the level of care that’s appropriate for them.

How Can I Find the Best Retirement Living Community Near Me?

Now that you know how to talk to your parent about their retirement living options, the next step is to find the right one for them.

That means researching facilities that offer:

  • The proper level of care
  • A variety of attractive amenities
  • Services designed to make senior living more enjoyable (home maintenance, daily meals, housekeeping, etc.)
  • Community and recreational events to keep residents socially connected
  • And more

And if you’re looking for options in the St. Louis area, one retirement living community that ticks all those boxes is The Harbor at Cape Albeon.

Our private apartments feature spacious floor plans, and we offer a wealth of activities to keep your loved ones happy and engaged all day long.

So if you’re looking for a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable retirement community your parent will love being a part of, set up your tour with The Harbor today.

Schedule A Tour