The Trusted Resource for Retirement Living

Having Family Conversations

If you are a senior considering a life change that includes selling your home, and if you have a family, we strongly encourage you to include them in conversation.

If you are a family member who is concerned about their parents and wondering if it is time for them to make a change that could include selling, we encourage you to start the conversation as soon as possible.

Talking with your children about change.

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Many seniors have adult children who have a strong emotional connection to the family home. Depending on the family of course, it can be difficult to talk with them about your failing health or visions of changes to your lifestyle, but there is no better time than now to bring them into the conversation. Remember – they will care more about your best interests than any material items.

The sooner you talk, the more time you all have to evaluate your feelings and come up with the answers that best suit everyone’s needs.

We at Lifestyle Transition Services know that there are many issues that can arise. Some of these include:

  • Questions about finances, including your retirement income, potential income from a sale, and/or purchase, costs of moving, and ability of the family to assist financially in any way.

  • If you are going to live with a family member, who will that be?
  • What are the options available?
  • This is where the Seniors Housing Advisors from Lifestyle Transition Services can be truly helpful. We will work with you to help answer questions, so you can deal with underlying issues, such as the emotional reaction to this change. For instance, sometimes a family will find themselves squabbling over possessions, when the real issue is that everyone is finding this change to be emotionally daunting. Having professionals to advise you and your family on details can work magic on family conversations, turning squabbles into opportunity.

    You may be an adult child of senior parents who is becoming aware that it may be time for your parents to move or downsize. This is a conversation that can be difficult in some families, but there is no time like the present to begin the dialogue.

    Here are some tips that can help you as you proceed.

    Expect resistance.

    If your parents have not been considering the possibility of a change in their living situation, they may be quite resistant at first. But even if they have, there may be resistance from other family members. In any event, do not be surprised if resistance emerges. It may take time for everyone to come to terms with the discussion. That is another reason why starting the conversation now, when you have time, is the best idea. What do you do with this resistance if it does emerge? You acknowledge it. It will take some people more time than others to get into the swing of talking openly about this issue, but you can bet that if you resist their resistance (whether overt or subtle), any discussions on this subject may take longer and be a lot more painful.

    Educate yourself.

    Research the aging process, and what experts recommend should be included in discussions, such as powers of attorney, long term and residential care, and financial planning. You will also want to have some knowledge of resources in your parents’ community, including senior activities and alternative transportation availability.

    Evaluate Your Parents Current and Future needs.

    Your parent’s current physical, mental and financial health is critical to the direction and urgency of this discussion. Questions to be answered include whether your parents are still able to drive (i.e. failing eyesight), or able to physically maintain the home. Are adequate services available near them?

    Take the time to listen, empathize, and include everyone in the discussion.

    Unless the situation is about a critical current need, you can take the time to let everyone speak. You want to understand what your parents think they need for future comfort and security, and evaluate that against your family’s financial resources and your parents actual physical and emotional needs.

    We at Lifestyle Transition Services are here to help you. We can help you educate yourself on issues to be addressed and options for senior living. We can refer you to a team of highly regarded experts from financial planners to de-clutterers. And of course we will provide expert service in the sale of your parents’ home, if that is what the family chooses.

    Remember:There is no better time than now to start planning for the eventuality that your parents are going to need you to help them plan for the future. Preparing now will help you and your family sustain and possibly enhance quality of life for everyone, as you all enjoy family milestones together with the peace of mind that comes with having a plan that works for everyone.