One thing we can probably agree on is that we’re all glad to see 2020 in our rearview mirror. Many senior adults, after closing the chapter on the past year, are now looking to 2021 and considering what the new year has in store for them. For many, making the move to a senior living community like ours makes complete sense, says Charles Benjamin, Executive Director of Harrogate, a premier active senior living community just minutes from Toms River and the Monmouth/Ocean County beaches.
“The threat of COVID-19 has caused many older adults to reconsider their living arrangements,” Charles says. “Surprisingly for many, a senior living community like Harrogate is actually the safest place for them to enjoy their days while also social distancing. Thanks to rigorous safety standards put in place, a senior living community is often much safer than living independently in a family home.”
While this may seem counter intuitive, Charles says that moving to an enclosed community provides older adults a sense of freedom while also bringing peace of mind for the future. “Your risks are much lower and the safety standards are much higher, making it the perfect place for older, at-risk adults to spend their retirement,” he says. “However, at some point you have to do something that may be difficult: telling your kids about your decision.”
Charles says that adult children can have a huge range of emotions when it comes to hearing their parents are moving to retirement living. They may be thrilled and completely supportive. On the other hand, they may be resentful, stubborn or simply believe that you are making the wrong choice. What’s a senior adult to do?
Obviously, you want to make sure you ease your kids’ minds during the transition, while also asserting your independence and preferences. Here are some tips for helping share the news with your kids, easing their concerns, addressing any questions they may have and getting them excited about this new journey that lies ahead.
Focus on the benefits.
It’s always best to lead with the positives and benefits as you’re announcing a new life change. This will help make the situation a lot more palatable to your loved ones, and can also help cut off any complaints before they begin. “Many adult children may assume that their parents would prefer to stay at home or live with them instead of moving into a community, and this change could be very discombobulating to them,” says Charles. “They may be resentful at the loss of their family home, or they could be worried that you won’t receive the appropriate level of care and assistance.”
Take some time to learn about the community you’re moving to and present the information to your kids in an optimistic, positive manner. Let them know that your desire to live elsewhere isn’t a personal slight – you’re making the right decision for you based on your personal experiences and knowledge. Be open about your choices and why you’ve decided to move. Whatever your reasons are, let your children know that you’re doing this to improve your quality of life – not to punish anyone or step away from everything you love.
Be prepared to answer a lot of questions.
Your children will probably have many questions upon your announcement. These can range from financial to personal to everything in between. You will need to prep beforehand and decide what you want your kids to know – and what they don’t need to know. After all, if you’re making this decision for yourself, you’re simply informing them of the change – you don’t need to justify yourself or get their permission.
It may be helpful to have some brochures from your community on hand so you can easily share information and get your children additional information. You may also wish to schedule a tour of the community with your kids so they can see firsthand where you’re going and also meet the staff and other key members of the community. Having plenty of information can help answer your kids’ questions and put them at ease about your decision.
Reassure them that you’re doing this to help continue – not stifle – your independence.
Surprisingly, there are still many misconceptions about senior living out there. One of the biggest is that moving to senior living robs older adults of all their independence. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, moving to senior living can actually increase your independence and improve your quality of life for longer than you would be able to live at home.
Having information about the community you’re moving to can help reassure your children about your decision. If they see that you’re doing this to benefit your life and even take responsibilities off their shoulders, they may be more amenable to the situation and eventually become as excited as you about this new chapter of life.
Ask them for their input and help.
While moving away from a home you know and love can be sad, it can also be an opportunity for you to share an experience with your children – and get their input. Ask your children for their help so they can be an integral part of this next phase of life. This is a great opportunity for your family to go through your home, look through personal items and share stories about the history you’ve experienced in the family home. While this can be bittersweet, it can also forge priceless memories. Take your time as you go through the house and pare through your belongings. You may be surprised at what items hold particular meaning to your children. Don’t forget that this is a perfect time to pass along heirlooms and other family pieces – not only will they get those items out of your hands, but you’ll also be able to see your kids and relatives enjoying them during your lifetime.
“The biggest thing you can do to get your adult children excited about your move is to involve them in the process,” says Charles. “By positioning this as an exciting, invigorating time, they’ll be more likely to get excited about the move – and, by extension, you will too. Although there may be bumps in the road and you may experience some skepticism, involving them in the process is one of the best ways to reassure your adult children and share your enthusiasm with them.”
This Is What “Worry Less, Live More” Looks Like
Located near Toms River, New Jersey, Harrogate offers a fulfilling and experience-rich life. Here, you’ll be free of the hassles of homeownership while having access to all of the best that life has to offer – from opportunities to engage, enrich and challenge yourself to the peace of mind of future care, socialization and so much more.
No matter what your needs may be, we can meet them, ensuring you are worry-free for years to come. With our Life Care, you can enjoy independent living, home health care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, memory support and more for one entrance fee and a monthly fee that covers everything our lifestyle has to offer.
Worry Less and Live More at Harrogate!
Call for information at 866-606-0178 or visit our website.