The Conversation: How to Discuss Community Living with Your Kids

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Community living for older adults is a relatively new concept, all things considered. Baby boomers watched their parents live in retirement and nursing homes and are looking for an alternative. That is why solutions like shared housing and aging in place are so attractive. But, there are some additional things that need to be taken care of if this is something you’re interested in pursuing.

One of those things may be explaining your idea to your adult children.

So many websites offer advice for adult children about how to “assist” their parents with their retirement or their elder care. Most of this advice is geared toward pretty conventional forms of retirement and estate planning. Your adult children may have a very specific idea about what your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond will look like. What if it is very different from your vision?

Click below for a few tips on how to talk to your adult children about your decision to live in community.

  1. Keep communications open. Relationships with adult children can range from extremely close to very distant. Regardless of what type of relationship you have with your kids, it is important to keep them in the loop about your decisions. Children who are close to you will want to be a part of your experience. Children who are distant will feel left out and resentful if they learn about the plan from someone else. Manage their expectations, and yours.
  2. photo credit: x1klima via photopin cc

    Manage disagreements. Your children may have some very strong opinions about how you should spend your life after retirement or after a divorce or death of a spouse. They may or may not voice these opinions. If they chose to tell you they think you’re wrong, maintain your position. This is still your life and there are still your children. Be firm but loving about what you want to do.

  3. Be honest about money. The majority of boomers and their adult children would rather discuss money with an independent third party than with each other. Kathleen Murphy, president of Personal Investing at Fidelity, said in a press release, “With parents living longer and the increasing financial complexity that the sandwich generation faces, it’s critical that families break down barriers, have these important conversations to make informed decisions and take control of their finances, rather than reacting to a crisis.”

Since community living is still a small subset of our housing possibilities there aren’t a lot of resources available online about specifically bridging this topic with your kids. Their reactions could be anything from “that is way too weird,” to “that is pretty cool.” You know your children and you understand how they might react to news that is a little unconventional.

The book “The Other Talk: A Guide to Talking with Your Adult Children about the Rest of Your Life” by Tim Prosch was published in August of this year and may provide some insight on this type of this discussion.

How do you plan to include your children in your decision?

If you want to know more about this and other tips for transitioning into community living, visit my website and contact me today! 

Women For Living in Community