Talking to Your Adult Children About Retirement
Talking about retirement with your adult children can be tough. Wrapped up in these conversations are topics that are hard for almost any family to discuss: money, health, aging, security and change. But it’s an important – and exciting! – time in your life, and it’s important to be able to talk openly with your children about it.
These conversations often occur as roles shift within families. While your children were once young and in need of your care and protection, they’re now adults with their own lives and their own choices – they might even be the ones who want to take care of you. Communication at this point in your life and your child’s life can take on great complexity, but it can bring deep contentment and mutual fulfillment if nurtured well.
Even adult children can have a difficult time accepting that their parents are entering a new chapter, and this is your chance to show them all of the options you have, including independent living in a retirement community, and what you look forward to next. Here are some tips to talk with your adult children about some of the decisions you face during retirement.
Talking to Adult Children about Finances
In many ways, discussions about retirement are discussions about money – and discussions about money with family can be fraught. Not only might you face tough financial decisions, but you’re likely concerned about the financial decisions they face as well.
One strategy to create productive conversations about finances with family is to be open about yours: your choices, your challenges and the lessons you’ve learned. Give your children a glimpse into the questions that surround retirement so that they can plan early for theirs. Open a dialogue about insurance coverage – health, long-term care, life – and what that covers and what that doesn’t. Tell them what kinds of living situations you prefer during retirement, what types of supportive care you may need in the future, and what that costs. We offer a cost calculator that may help your discussion.
In addition, be open about the questions and uncertainties you face as well. The financial situation that you encounter now can help them become sympathetic to your challenges and choices, while preparing them for theirs.
Talking to Adult Children about Aging
In many families, talking about aging is a hard discussion, which is why it’s hardly discussed. It’s difficult to think about our parents growing older. Create a conversation about the needs that come as we get older, and how those needs will impact your lifestyle. Let them know that you’re honestly assessing what you need now, and what you may need later.
By anticipating your needs, you can give your adult children the peace of mind of knowing that you’re prioritizing your health and well-being. A small amount of daily assistance by a qualified care team can offer a large amount of independence. Help your children understand that planning for assistance is a necessary step that can empower you to maintain the lifestyle you want. Here are a few ways that may help you start the conversation:
- I have some information I need to share with you, can we meet for lunch?
- I know you are busy but my (CPA, attorney, financial planner, pastor) asked me to make sure you know a few important details.
- After seeing what (a friend or family member) went through, I wanted to share some things with you about our plans for the future.
- I think we can both agree neither of us wants to think about me needing help, BUT I need to know that I have given you everything you could need, if there ever is a crisis.
Talking to Adult Children about Retirement Communities
Be open with your adult children about what you want in a living situation. Everyone responds to change in their own way (and at their own pace), but keeping your children in the loop can show them how much they matter. Even some adults can become emotional when their childhood home goes up for sale, and they may need your help to visualize the new memories that you will create in your new home
Your adult children may be concerned about your safety and security, especially if they live far away. If you consider a retirement community or assisted living community, tell them of the amenities and services – from safety features in the homes to security services around the community – to ease their concerns.
Some families have outdated notions of retirement and assisted living communities that may need to be resolved at this time. Tell them that these communities allow you to continue hobbies and activities you love – and possibly even start new ones. Tell them about the faith services that keep residents not only connected to their faith tradition, but with others who follow that path as well. Tell them about the maintenance programs that mean you’ll never need to mow a lawn or clean gutters again! Show them pictures online of communities you like and tell them which features you like most about them. We have an online photo gallery that includes pictures of our fitness room, chapel, salon and even our parties that can serve as examples.
Communication with Adult Children
At Concordia, we encourage communication between residents and their families. We take time to help residents feel at home as valued members of our community, whatever their faith or beliefs may be, and we extend that same welcome to their families. We love when family members and friends of residents come to visit our community, perhaps to share a meal or take a walk around our grounds.
There is no specific rulebook that details advice for parents of adults. Families are unique and dynamic, and what works for one family may not work for another. However, all adult children want to be valued and respected for the individuals they have become – just as their parents want their choices to be valued and respected. We know that these conversations may be difficult, and we work with residents to offer tools and resources to help these talks go smoothly and productively.
If you would like to learn more about Concordia, you can complete an online information request form or call us at 405-720-7200. One of our staff members will get back to you to tell you all about our community and what we can offer you.
If your family members would like to learn more about our community, we would love to connect with them. They can contact us or download our free Insiders’ Guide to Senior Living.