If your parents are close to or at retirement age, talking to them about their future plans may be a difficult conversation, but it is an essential one. Having that discussion is the only way you will know whether your parents have even considered such things as: retirement living, assisted living, nursing homes, home care, or even Hospice. Be patient, both with yourself and your parents as you work through these complex issues. Here are some suggestions for starting (and continuing) the conversation. Remember that as your parents’ health, lifestyle, and finances change, so will their needs. Consider revisiting these suggestions on a regular basis until you are certain what your parents’ wishes are about their retirement.
Be Direct – If you and your parents have had a good relationship, then take a direct approach with your initial conversation. Be up front and tell them what you are worried about and ask them to discuss it. If you are worried about many issues, take them one at a time instead of all at once. Chances are, if you’ve been up nights thinking about these things, so have your parents!
Learn by Reminiscing – When you and your parents are together, talk to them about their past. Ask them about their childhoods, their fondest memories, their ancestors. Then, use this information to move into a discussion about their future. For example, if your parents reminisce that their ancestors had to work all their lives, then ask them how they would like to live in their retirement. Find out what your parents want most/least as they age. Ask what issues are worrying them now. Mention to them what you think they should consider in the future, especially if their health declines.
Bring up a “Friend” – There is a really good chance that your parents know someone who is dealing with retirement issues, considering assisted living, or is in a nursing home. Using that situation to talk to them about what they have “heard” is good or bad about those situations can lead to discussions about your parents’ wishes for their future.
Use the Internet – Search the internet for articles, information, and websites about retirement, finances, assisted living, or long term care options. Share these findings with your parents and use the information as a springboard for your conversation. Take the opportunity now to review Retirement Unlimited Inc.’s website and learn about all of the communities. Each retirement and assisted living community is unique and offers many options. Each community allows you to take a virtual tour. What a great way for your parents to learn about retirement and assisted living options! They can literally “see” the lifestyle that awaits them.
However you find a way to start the conversation, do so. You will learn more about your parents needs and will be more certain about helping them navigate through their retirement.