by Erin Guidry
Retiring is a huge milestone. You’ve put in so much work to get to where you are today. And if you’re like most Baby Boomers, you’ve decided that you’d like to stay in your home long-term, as opposed to moving in with family or relocating to a retirement community.
With this decision, however, can come some tough conversations. If you’re a parent of adult children, it’s natural for them to worry about your choice. They may use the justification that they fear you’ll be lonely or that living alone increases your risk of injury.
These conversations can quickly get heated and devolve into arguments. To protect everyone’s peace of mind and preserve important relationships, it’s important that you have a strategy for the conversation with your family about your decision to age in place. Here are three vital tips:
Make a Plan
The fastest way to put your family and friends at ease about your decision to age in place is to show them that you came to the decision thoughtfully and with intention. Having a plan that is thorough and clear will help everyone who loves you understand why you have made this choice.
This document should include important legal, financial, and medical information as well as your plan for things like home maintenance, groceries, transportation, hobbies, and more. The end result here is that not only are your thoughts neatly organized, and your wishes are crystal clear, but your loved ones see that you have made an informed decision that deserves respect.
If you don't have a document like this started, you can use our free Independent Living Checklist as a jumping-off point. You can fill it out on your computer and then save or print it, or print it first and fill it out by hand - whichever you prefer!
Don’t Take it Personal
Conversations about aging in place can become emotionally charged very quickly. It is easy for both the retiree and their loved ones to get upset. But taking a moment to step back and center yourself is an effective way to redirect these conversations to a more productive place.
If you’re speaking with your adult child, for instance, put yourself in their shoes. Understand that their fears and concerns stem from a place of love and concern for the parent they love. They likely feel that they owe you the service of taking care of you to the standard you cared for them when they were a child. Everything they say, no matter how much it may sting, is driven by their love for you. Move forward with that knowledge as the backbone of your conversation.
Invite Them In
It can be easy for these types of conversations to become adversarial. It devolves into a very “us” versus “them” situation, which ultimately serves no one. Rather than pitting yourself against your loved ones, why not take this opportunity to invite them more fully into your life?
Once you’ve shared your Independence Plan with them and explained your reasons for choosing to age in place, keep things positive! Suggest that you set up a regular standing coffee or lunch date together. Or invite them to join you for a movie or bingo night. At the end of the day, you are a mature adult making an informed and empowered decision about your own future, and you must be confident in that.
Conversations about aging in place are hard. That’s a simple fact. Feelings can get hurt; emotions and nerves can be raw. So, tread with caution, and understand that at its core, this entire conversation is driven by love. Going into things prepared will help you avoid getting rattled and help instill confidence in the choice you have made. If you and your family are searching for ways to simplify your retirement and make your golden years more enjoyable, Dorvie can help.
Looking to get your family on board with a healthy discussion around aging in place? Share Part II of this series with them, which approaches the discussion from their point of view.