Supporting your parents’ transition to a retirement village

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Here’s a cold, hard truth: every adult will have to confront their parents’ living situation head-on in the future.

While some households can afford to accommodate their senior members throughout their life, there are a slew of reasons as to why such living arrangements may not be viable for other households.

For one, your parents’ health could be deteriorating rapidly and you may not have the time nor expertise to help them throughout this ordeal.

Secondly, you and the other adults in the household may have careers, children, and a vibrant social life to attend to. This can consequently leave the elderly members of the household vulnerable to being neglected.

In either case, retirement villages are often considered as a viable next step to provide adequate housing and care for these retired individuals. These places have the amenities and staffing to support your parents for their utmost care and comfort.

That said, it can be tough wrapping your head around the entire process, especially if you’ve never dealt with these sorts of facilities in the past. To help you get through it, here’s a guide on how you can help your parents transition to a retirement village successfully.

  1. Know When The Time Is Right 

Some elderly folks in their 70s and 80s are surprisingly resilient and independent. Despite their age, they can care for themselves without much external support. 

If your parents can support themselves, and if you are in a good position to provide them housing yourself, you don’t necessarily need to seek out retirement village living arrangements just yet.

That said, it’s important to observe and take note of any signs when something’s amiss. The health of aged individuals can rapidly deteriorate, leaving them susceptible to a slew of diseases, from chronic health problems to neurodegenerative diseases.

When you find your elderly loved one unable to perform daily tasks at the same pace as before—for health reasons or otherwise—a change may be necessary. 

Besides worsening daily upkeep, a physical decline, increased social isolation, and a general lack of focus can all warrant a serious discussion on whether retirement villages are for them. 

And, in most cases, such a move can be immensely beneficial for both parties involved.

  1. Approach The Conversation Prepared

Moving to a retirement village is a dramatic life change, and it needs the cooperation and affirmation of both you and your parents. And, if this topic has never been brought up before, it can be quite a delicate conversation to navigate. 

After all, for your parents, it can initially feel similar to being kicked out of your own child’s home. They could feel resistance, apprehension, sadness, or a complicated mix of both. It can also hurt their pride as they have to face the reality of their age.

Therefore, it’s crucial to be gentle and empathetic when you initially raise this topic for consideration. It’s also a good idea to talk about this in a calm and appropriate environment, like at the dinner table. 

In the conversation itself, show them the benefits of living in a retirement village and prove to them that it’s the best course of action given both of your life circumstances. Be open to hearing your parents’ opinion on the matter, and always validate their feelings and ease their worries.

At the end of the day, you and your parents would both need to be on the same page regarding this move. So be ready to engage in open dialogue with them during this time.

  1. Research Possible Retirement Villages

Once you’ve gotten your parent(s) on board, scout for possible retirement villages in your area, like a Living Choice retirement village. There are many retirement villages around Australia, so don’t be afraid to dig through potential candidates.

The research process can be as succinct or as short as you and your parents want. Many retirement villages offer the fundamentals—accommodation, health services, and sports facilities. 

That said, some can provide more than the fundamentals, so be sure to look up the retirement villages around your area and see which one’s a better fit for your family.  

Moreover, some villages could be more reputed than others with more quality offerings, so be sure to read reviews of families who have residents in these places. 

Lastly, but most importantly, ensure that your parents’ desires and their well-being are upheld wherever they choose to relocate. This way, they can go about their day-to-day happy with their choice.

  1. Consider Financing Modes

Depending on your type of tenancy, moving into a retirement village can be pricey. 

You’ll not only pay the entry fees based on the agreed purchase price of the unit, but you’ll also have to pay recurring monthly fees and exit fees whenever appropriate. 

And as for the latter case, it can be quite a significant amount—usually about 30% of the purchase price.

Fortunately, not all retirement villages require you to pay a large lump sum fund. You can also choose to rent a house in these villages to minimise the need to spend a large capital on your parents’ new house.

Furthermore, there are government grants that can assist your elderly parent with downsizing and healthcare. Do utilise these opportunities to cut down on costs.

That said, it can still be complicated to navigate financing. Consult with a financial advisor familiar with elder care to help you devise a sustainable financial plan. 

You may also look into a government-run retirement village calculator to get a comprehensive look at the total expected costs.

  1. Assist in Move-in

Moving can be tiresome, both physically and mentally. This is doubly so if you’re an aged individual.

As a final gesture, take the time to assist your parents in moving to their new place. Help them downsize and choose the right things to bring with them to their new home. Drive them to their new unit and help them set up everything necessary. 

Also, find a staff in the retirement village that you can contact to help your parents in the instances that you’re not around.

It’s also important to provide emotional support to them before, during, and after the move. The process can understandably be emotionally overwhelming for them, so be calm and patient but firm about the move.

Your elderly parents may not feel completely at home during the first few days, so be sure to regularly check in with them and help them adjust. Encourage them to participate in fun hobbies, like cooking or gardening.

Remind them that they have all the amenities necessary to live in that place and that you’re always a phone call away. Sometimes, all they need is a little bit of reassurance to help them get by.

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