Carillon Senior Living Blog
Choosing independent living: The benefits of involving family in the decision-making process
You’re ready to leave your family home for an independent living community. It’s time—actually, the best time—as no unexpected health crisis is influencing your move.
You simply want MORE in your senior years. More activity options, more friends around, and more security. With LESS responsibility for housekeeping and maintenance. And the SAME precious independence you enjoy now. Your decision to make the move is made.
So, what’s your next step? Tell your children. OK—now it gets tricky—feelings and emotions come into the mix. Don’t fear the discussion or deny the realities of aging. Keep in mind that communication, transparency, and positivity will be key as you go forward and, if handled appropriately, this decision-making process can be rewarding and unifying for you and your family. So, let’s take a look at these three important factors.
Share all your thoughts, wishes, and questions for the future with your adult children (spouses and siblings, too)—leave no one out-of-the-loop. Everyone needs to understand the reasons for your decision, what YOU want, as well as the tremendous advantages they could enjoy figuring it out as a family.
Be sensitive. After all, you’re not the only one transitioning to a new lifestyle. Your family needs to prepare for this major change, too. They may be losing their family home; your son his boyhood memories; or your daughter the neighborhood she knows best. There are bound to be mixed feelings. Let those feelings be known. This is not the time to brush your thoughts and ideas under the carpet.
Transparency and teamwork
Primarily, it’s YOUR life we’re talking about, but after you announce your wishes, get each family member involved in the process. They become your Team of Advisors. Decide, as a group, what family member is best—based on individual talent—to handle particular areas. Here are six players you most likely will need on your Team:
- A Mediator. Someone to foster communication between you and all family members, to keep everyone in touch with your ideas for the independent lifestyle you want and where you want to live it.
- A Real Estate Guru. You’ll probably need someone to handle the prepping, listing, selling, and moving from your current home. Let a family member drive those efforts.
- The Search Committee. Where will you live next? What’s important to you in an independent living community? How do you see your future? Your search committee should have a methodical plan for visiting options. Pick your top three communities, visit, take great notes, eliminate and add more, if necessary. Remember, the final decision must be yours. Do not relinquish control. No one wants to hear: “This is where my children want me to go.” Confirm YOUR choice with: This is the best decision I ever made.”
- A CPA or Tax Advisor. Details, details. This valuable family resource may already be in place but put a family member in charge of disseminating important details to all.
- An Attorney or Legal Professional. Are there documents to prepare? What about future medical directives? A family member needs to be put in charge, even if a third-party is called in to advise.
- Financial & Insurance Advisor. Every family needs a money specialist! This member of your Team will manage the financial assets and analyze your cash flow to ease concerns about the affordability of your new lifestyle.
Lots to think about, isn’t there? More Team players may be needed—every family is different. Just give everyone a job in this important decision-making process.
It sounds like a lot of work—and it is—but let’s get to those benefits that will impact you as a family unit. When was the last time you took on a project as big as this—as a family? We’ve seen this approach draw siblings closer together, promote a greater appreciation of life and relationships, and foster a deeper understanding of what the future could hold for a senior loved one. Here are more benefits that an open-minded family may enjoy looking for independent living as an organized and objective-focused team:
- Family engagement can help set a senior loved one’s mind at ease.
- Early conversations with all the kids can reduce the likelihood of any surprises.
- Each family member gets to use their special gifts to help—promoting self-esteem and personal growth.
- As a group, family members develop a relationship with the independent living community—making everyone feel part of the new community from the start.
- When working together, the time it takes between decision and move is less than when the senior is looking alone. Adult children can help make it happen more quickly.
- General outlook on life starts with family. Support from and interaction with family members has a major influence on a senior’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
- Once your family has chosen a community, you’ll all want to stay in touch with that community. After all, this is your end result—the PRIZE—you all achieved together.
We encourage you to make sure Carillon is on your “visit list.” You’ll find everything you want here. Not quite ready to visit? View our website and discover the possibilities for independent senior living at Carillon. Call (806) 281-6106, or complete a contact form today!