5 ways to help your parents feel at home in retirement
Many of us choose to relocate as part of our retirement – to villages, communities, the country, or just a bigger or smaller property in a nearby spot. If your parents are going moving as part of their retirement, here’s some simple ways you can help them out.
It’s still all about location
Location, location, location doesn’t stop mattering when it comes to retirement property choices. In fact, location is a key driver in where we settle on settling. We might want to stay close to family, or move closer to friends. We might want to finally make a move into our favourite suburb. Or get out of the town we never much cared for.
Lifestyle is paramount, and the neighbourhood we’re in will shape that lifestyle as much as where we sleep each night. Work with your parents to tease out their ideal locations, and start your property search there.
Just like any other property hunt, your parents will have specific requirements for their retirement real estate. Help them audit and capture all of these. Do they need a pet friendly property? Ground floor only? Gardens they can tend? Ask what’s non-negotiable and what’s a nice to have.
Review the myriad of options out there. Cooperative living, retirement villages and communities, new homes modified for aged needs, or a hot little townhouse in hipsterville; they’re all potential landing zones for retiring loved ones. A list of needs and wants will let you zero in.
Scope out their shortlist
Follow up your research with in-person visits to villages or communities your parents are considering buying into. Interview them together and make sure their location, features, and amenities measures up. Treat it like any other property inspecting process – tick all the boxes around your requirements, get professional assistance where needed, and look under the proverbial rug to make sure there are no unwelcome surprises.
Encourage a financial health check
Even if your parents are downsizing in retirement, there are costs associated with that move. Help family members get a complete picture of retirement village fees and charges, and ensure they’ll safely manage them while living their desired lifestyle. If they’ve got a large nest egg, you can help set up estate planning. If they’re financially adrift, hook them up with a reputable advisor.
Some retirement accommodation offers options for long term care, and you might want to look at insurance for this. Though it may be confronting, being honest about finances will help minimise distress and prevent disaster. Just remember that money can be a sensitive subject, and attitudes differ generationally.
Remind them what’s not changing
Transitioning to retirement can make us worry about losing touch with the people and places that matter most. Choose retirement digs that help your loved ones maintain habits and hobbies they love, and communities that help them thrive, not wither. Identify aspects of their life that can remain constant while some things shift.
Listen carefully to what your parents want, need and feel about the process and their accommodation options. Then step up and help them do the work, rather than taking over. By empowering your loved ones to research and make their own decisions – you’ll ensure they have ownership over those choices.