Making decisions about your retirement – where you want to live, how you’ll protect your assets, what kind of care you want should you ever need it – are no small tasks. As we get further into our retirement, our perspectives might change as the result of health concerns, new grandkids or the state of our finances. Once we’ve made these important plans, we need to share them with the people closest to us.
“Talking about retirement plans with family members isn’t always easy,” says Michael Rambarose, President and CEO of Whitney Center, a Life Care Community in Hamden, CT. “Family dynamics, communication styles and other factors can make it difficult to share pertinent information with adult children. Sometimes, children just aren’t ready to talk about their parents moving to a community or planning for end-of-life care. However, the choices you make about how to spend this phase of your life may affect your family greatly, and it’s best for everyone when your family understands your hopes and desires.”
Sharing retirement plans with family gives everyone the opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns and explain their points of view. Getting your family on board with your plans will also avoid confusion and disagreements if ever a crisis occurs and you’re dependent on them for obtaining care. Your loved ones may also have valuable input that could help you finalize your decisions. Although these matters are ultimately up to you, involving your family can help everyone experience greater peace of mind in the long run.
What to Discuss When You Share Your Plans
Whether you’re planning on moving to a senior living community now or in the future, have determined what kind of care support you’d like down the road or would like to name a Power of Attorney, it’s important to explain certain aspects of your retirement plans. An article by Caring Right at Home discusses several topics about your senior lifestyle that you should talk about with your family. These include:
- Health – Allow your children to have a realistic idea about your current state of health. Inform them about health conditions you may have kept private, as sharing your diagnoses will help them understand the reasons for your decisions and what your health may look like in the future. It’s especially important to disclose any hereditary health conditions.
- Living Arrangements – If you’re sharing your decision to move to a retirement community, let your family know when you plan on moving and why you chose that particular community. If you haven’t narrowed down your choices yet, you could ask your loved ones for their thoughts, or politely explain that you would like to make the decision by yourself. Recognize that your move could influence when and how you spend time with your family, so consider their feelings as you discuss your decisions.
- Future Care Wishes – Discuss with your children how you wish to be cared for in the event of a serious health crisis. Conversations about end-of-life choices can be difficult, so be sure to approach the topic with empathy. Share what kind of long-term care you would like to receive, either delivered in your home or at a long-term care community. If you have a living will, you may wish to share its contents or talk about who you choose to make healthcare decision for you if a medical condition requires it.
One thing to consider before you share your plans with your family is whether you want your plans set in stone prior to your conversation. Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to have legal or financial documents or moving arrangements already confirmed by the time you share this information with your family – as long as you know you won’t change your minds. On the other hand, you may want to involve your family members in your future planning, especially if your plans might affect your relationship with your children or grandchildren.
Tips for a Successful Conversation
When preparing to talk about your retirement plans with your family, follow these tips to make the process a little easier:
- You don’t need to share everything at once. If sharing your news about moving to a retirement community is overwhelming to your loved ones, you may want to wait until they’ve processed this to talk about other issues.
- Be patient. Your children and loved ones may not be as ready as you are to talk about future plans. Respect their emotions and set the pace for a productive discussion.
- Plan ahead. Waiting for the perfect time to share might keep you waiting longer than you want. Plan when and where you’ll discuss this information and be sure everyone who needs to be is there.
- Be honest. Don’t make up elaborate explanations as to why you made your decisions – or refuse to explain your reasons. Share your honest desires and concerns openly and allow your family to see the situation from your point of view.
- Get help if you need it. If you need to, find a thirdparty to help you facilitate this discussion with your family members. Your doctor, care manager or an elder law attorney can offer consulting services, which may be helpful in the case of complicated family relationships.
If you’re making important decisions about your retirement plans, don’t let nerves or fear keep you from sharing this information with your loved ones. With careful consideration and planning, you can help your children understand your wishes and get on board with your plans.
For more advice on talking to your family about your retirement plans, contact the team at Whitney Center. Our senior living experts would be happy to help you navigate these issues and offer support as you continue your retirement journey.
Discover Excellence in Senior Living.
At Whitney Center, you’ll find a distinguished senior living community where residents do what they love. Located in Hamden, Connecticut, Whitney Center combines all the cultural, educational and historical charms of the Greater New Haven area with the intricate details of daily life for active seniors. Whitney Center is a Life Care community, offering not just an unparalleled independent living lifestyle, but a full continuum of care services as well, including assisted living, rehabilitation, skilled nursing care and memory care. Whitney Center even offers a home-based long-term care program, Thrive at Home, which connects seniors to the services they need to live well in their own home.
Choice. Freedom. Opportunity.
We believe that remaining engaged and striving for excellence builds a more meaningful life. That’s why residents experience a host of services and amenities, events and cultural opportunities and wellness programs designed to foster endless growth and personalized living. Backed by our first-rate hospitality and philosophy of continuous improvement, our residents are free to travel, learn, volunteer, set new goals and create the life they want to live.
Come Here to Thrive.
At Whitney Center, residents live in the midst of cultural arts and education and dignified connections to the greater community. Seniors thrive in pursuit of what brings them joy, with unlimited opportunities to create and contribute. And, with the confidence in quality care services available on site if health needs ever change, Whitney Center makes it possible for seniors to continue enjoying the freedom to embrace life at its fullest.