Important Family Conversation to Have Over the Holidays

Holidays are about family and reconnecting with loved ones we may not have seen in a while. If you are like many families, you spend more time with your parents and/or children during the holidays than any other time of the year. If you are visiting elderly parents you may notice that they are not getting around as easily as they once did. Or, if you are a parent hosting a holiday dinner, you may come to realize that cleaning, decorating and preparing a meal is a little harder than it used to be.

As families gather together to spend quality time, share meals and gives thanks, the perfect opportunity presents itself to discuss some weightier topics we sometimes try to put off – like plans for aging.

Here are tips for family conversations about future living plans.

1. Begin the conversation before circumstances force you.

Bringing up the topic of future living plans, whether you are a concerned son/daughter or are a senior yourself, can be hard and even emotional. But, it is important to have this conversation before circumstances force you. If you are thinking about your plans for the future, talk to your family now. Moving to a retirement community while you are active and healthy will allow you to enjoy the wonderful amenities, live a maintenance-free lifestyle and make new friends. Additionally, at SpringShire, making plans for the future now will allow you to pick your ideal home. You will not be put on a waiting list, which is often the case at other retirement communities. By making plans at SpringShire now, you will not feel rushed – you will sign now and move later. This will give you the time you need to sell your home and pack your things without pressure.

Children, if your parents are getting older and haven’t brought up their future plans yet, bring this up with them while they are still able to live safely on their own. This gives you the opportunity to discuss the future in a non-threatening, hypothetical way. At SpringShire, residents will move to the community while they are still active and healthy. But, they will have the assurance that if something were to happen to them they would be able to remain in their community and receive assistance.

2. Ask the right questions.

For children, the most challenging part of the conversation may be getting your parents to realize that they will need assistance sometime in the future. They may have the false notion that moving to a retirement community may mean they are giving up their independence in some way. Assure them that a move to a maintenance-free community, such as SpringShire, will make their day-to-day life easier and allow them more time to do the things they enjoy. Ask questions like: “How’s the house? It must be hard keeping this place in good shape” and “Do you need help with household chores?”

3. Identify the what-ifs.

Children, if both of your parents are still alive, ask what will happen if one of them is gone. Would they like the home to be sold? Should the surviving parent move to a retirement community? If so, what kind and where? These questions can be hard, but asking them now can prevent stress and confusion in the future. You can bring up this topic by saying, “Mom and Dad, I know that each of you are okay right now, but what should we do if that changes?” Explain to them that in a retirement community, like SpringShire, if one of them requires medical assistance they will be able to remain in the community with their spouse nearby. If they were not living in a retirement community this could be a completely different scenario – one parent may have to live away from the other to receive the help they need.

Parents, you should also talk to your children about the what-ifs. Tell them that moving to a retirement community, like SpringShire, with onsite medical care will allow you to remain independent for as long as possible.

4. Suggest a time to visit a retirement community.

Once you begin the conversation, suggest touring local retirement communities. Schedule an appointment while family is in town for the holidays. The SpringShire community will have beautiful living options as well as impressive amenities. Those looking to move to SpringShire are sure to get excited about the Fitness & Aquatic Center, spa, Movie Theater, library, and more – and everyone will have peace of mind knowing quality medical care and transportation is available within the community. We invite you to contact our Information Center, (252) 317-2303, to schedule a time to stop by and see our virtual tour and beautiful property.

5. Be prepared.

If you are having this conversation with your children, tell them why you are excited about moving to a retirement community. Explain to them how this will improve your quality of life as you age. If you are having this conversation with parents, be ready to offer information on retirement living communities in the area and the maintenance-free lifestyle that is offered. If you would like to learn more about active, maintenance-free living at SpringShire, we encourage you to contact us for more information. We would love to help prepare you for this important conversation.

6. Be supportive and understanding.

Children should remember that these decisions are ultimately for their parents to make. Show them that you will be supportive no matter what they decide. Being forceful or pushy may only make things worse. You should remain upbeat and supportive, even if you are frustrated.

Parents, remember that although this is your decision it will also affect your children’s lives as well. Be honest with them and have open communication about your wishes, but also be willing to listen to their concerns and questions. If you want input on where you live, it is better to discuss before it becomes an emergency.