Talking to your adult children about plans for your later years can be challenging. Big lifestyle changes, even if they are positive or necessary, are difficult to embrace when you have been living one way for a long time.
For instance, moving away from the home where you raised your family is bittersweet, and may bring back a lot of memories. Having an open, honest conversation about your retirement years can help both you and your children prepare for these changes. Not sure quite what to say? Here are some helpful tips for having a productive discussion about retirement plans with your adult children.
As Mark Twain once said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Opening the conversation about aging with your children can be accomplished with a simple question like, “Do you have a few minutes to talk about plans for the future?” Choose a quiet moment when you do not feel rushed or distracted.
You may find that your children have strong feelings on certain topics like assisted living or you moving to a different state. If you’re considering making a big change, look at your retirement options together as a family. Offer for your children to accompany you on retirement community tours. Not only will you benefit from having a second opinion, but it will also allow your children to feel included in this new phase of your life.
When discussing retirement plans, it’s important to be transparent. While talking about money can be uncomfortable, discussing financial details can reassure children who want to ensure you are prepared and able to afford your retirement years. They may have unspoken concerns, such as “Do Mom and Dad want me to offer for them to live with me?” They may be harboring unnecessary guilt that you would prefer to live with them but are afraid to ask – even if that’s not the case.
If moving to a retirement community is what will suit you best, explain why. Is it because you prefer to maintain freedom, independence, and an active lifestyle? Are you hoping to meet new friends in the same season of life? Getting everyone’s thoughts and opinions out in the open can be messy, but it’s the first step to getting on the same page.
In addition to finances, it’s important to discuss any other practical or legal matters. What will your children’s role be, if any, in managing your assets once you transition to a retirement community? Other questions to address include:
Disclose any information, as well as the location of important documents, your children need to know. This can avoid unnecessary stress and burden in the future.
Finally, if your adult children still have concerns about your retirement plans, reassure them that this is a choice you want to make – not one you are being forced into. Share all of your feelings, even the bittersweet ones, about the change.
Emphasize to them that you will stay connected in this new phase of life. Lay out concrete plans for holidays, visits and birthdays. Focus on how you will spend time together, not the time that you will spend apart. Even if you will be living in different cities or states, you can still schedule quality time together. Put recurring phone or video chats on the calendar to make sure you have meaningful moments to connect each week.
Moving to a new stage of life comes with challenges, but is much easier when you’re not doing it alone. Advent Christian Village is a retirement community centered on small-town values and relationships, whether that’s with adult children, our supportive staff or the new friends you make in your neighborhood. We create meaningful opportunities for residents to connect with each other, such as social events, clubs and common spaces. In addition, we offer on-site cabins for family visits year-round, as well as convenient access to the airport, which means family members can easily make the trip.
Want to experience a new kind of retirement? Schedule a tour at Advent Christian Village today. We’d love to show you around – and, of course, the whole family is invited.