Imagine this slice of heaven. A decade ago in their mid-70s, Mom and Dad surprised the family when they downsized, sold the house and retired to an apartment in a CCRC (continuing care retirement community). They always have breakfast together in their apartment, but frequently join friends for other meals, dining at the community or sometimes going out. They don’t waste any worry or time with housework, yardwork, security or maintenance, instead spending their hours and days with old friends and a whole network of new friends
Healthwise, when Dad needed heart surgery, he recuperated just down the hall from home and friends. And when Mom hurt her back and required short-term rehab, it meant the world to them when friends lived so close that not a day went by without a visitor. The folks talked it over, and each wants to stay after the other passes. When both are gone, the estate will receive back 90 percent of the entrance fee. But for now, vibrantly connected, both alone and together, they’ve blossomed.
In contrast, consider this. Say that Mom and Dad, now in their mid-80s, are still living in their rambling old house full of stuff. After church each week, they have a few precious minutes to meet up with old friends before the bell for Sunday school and Mom drives them home for Dad’s nap. Otherwise, he rarely gets out, as they don’t drive after dark, nor do their friends, none of whom live nearby anymore.
Mom shops and cooks although it hurts her knees, but they haven’t found an alternative they both like. Dad’s vision is poor and he fell, breaking his pelvis. He’s hospitalized now and she’s worried and exhausted from driving there and back, as well as talking to contractors about remodeling the two-story Cape Cod to accommodate his return. The alternative is selling the place. Unthinkable. Her worries — and the family’s — are befuddling.
Two scenarios, both real, and one looking a little more optimistic. And who’s in the middle? Who can influence their parents toward the former and away from the latter?
“Wait – not me,” you think. “They don’t listen to me.”
Your mom may disagree with your fashion choices, and they both may dislike your music, but when the subject is retirement communities, you’re at the top of their list of TAs (Trusted Advisors). Other TAs could be legal, investment, accounting or insurance advisors.
What makes you the single most trusted? You know Mom and Dad best — their preferences in people, entertainment and adventures. But the truth is that, more than anything, you have the least to gain. As their adult child, yours is the unique voice — and yours the perspective they treasure most.
First in a series.
Information provided by Deerfield Retirement Community, 13731 Hickman Road, Urbandale, 1-888-561-60, 10DeerfieldRC.com.