February 5: ARE YOUR KIDS STANDING IN THE WAY OF YOUR RETIREMENT… AGAIN?
When Mom and Dad sat me down for a serious discussion, my mind was racing with curiosity about what might be coming my way. As their oldest child, I was fairly confident they’d covered all the major “talks” with me years ago. However, when they explained they’d made the decision to move into a Life Plan Community or Continued Care Retirement Community (CCRC), my initial reaction was: “You’re not old enough for that yet.” Turns out my reaction was not too uncommon, especially among adult children.
Overcoming My Retirement Community Reluctance
For many, the thought of retiring to a senior adult retirement community conjures images of “nursing home old folks” parked in front of a commons room television with a cup of pudding in hand. However, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only did my lack of understanding result in several inaccurate presumptions of what a Life Plan Community/CCRC actually is or the many advantages people experience by living there, my obstinance also caused added stress in my parents’ desire to pursue opportunities that were better suited for their evolving lifestyle needs.
Like me, I sincerely believe most adult children have the best intentions for their parents’ health, happiness, and welfare in retirement. But more often than not, our preconceived notions of what it is to live in a Life Plan Community can stand in the way of our parents’ ability to comfortably and confidently make life and lifestyle decisions that are best for them.
The surprising reality is, senior adults aren’t “giving up” or resigning themselves to retirement obscurity by opting for the community living scene. They’re actually facing it head-on—and with better preparation for their future needs. In fact, many are living far more active and involved lifestyles than people a third their age. And more and more of them are doing so from the comfort and security found in these innovative, opportunity-rich communities.
Weighing the Different Life Plan Community Vantage Points
From the aging parent’s standpoint, moving to a Life Plan Community can have several benefits:
- From independent to assisted living, Life Plan Communities are designed to offer a continuum of healthcare services right on campus. That way, as needs arise, or as conditions change, the security of receiving proper care is always present.
- Along with accessible and continued care comes the comfort in knowing there will not be any undue burden placed on family, friends, or caregivers as health needs change or as supplementary care is required.
- Life Plan Communities are made up of a community of people who are in the same stage of life, thereby providing a great social network, as well as a sense of belonging to residents.
- Life Plan Communities offer access to an assortment of health, fitness, and dining amenities, as well as on- and off-campus events, activities, clubs, and resident-led groups that allow them to pursue their passions and interests at whatever level of involvement they prefer.
From the adult children’s perspective, there are several understandable concerns:
- Having parents move to a Life Plan Community often means selling or leaving the family home behind. This can create anxious emotions about giving up the house and all the fond memories associated with it.
- Many adult children are concerned about their parents’ ability to settle into a new social setting, worrying they won’t be happy living with other “old people” or comfortable in their new home.
- It’s not uncommon for adult children to experience some degree of uneasiness about accepting the fact that their parents are aging or becoming increasingly infirm in their advanced years.
- Many children often feel a certain level of uncertainty with regards to the financial implications of a Life Plan Community or what effect it will have on estate planning.
Consider the Benefits of a Life Plan Community
While all these benefits and concerns are valid perspectives worth considering, the key to understanding the realities of what it’s actually like to live within a Life Plan Community will come as both parents and adult children seek greater education into the options and opportunities offered. After all, the decision to live within a retirement community can be helpful and advantageous for many people, even while they’re still healthy, active, and on the younger side of elderhood.
Learn more about the benefits of living within a Life Plan Community: summitvista.com