How can I talk with my parents about moving them to a senior independent living facility?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 30, 2016
Carolkos asked...

My husband and I will be retiring to South Carolina from New York. We have been married now for the past 5 years and my husband knew that when he married me that my parents would be living with us. Which is fine. He is a very caring and considerate new son-in-law. My parents are 82 years old, pretty independent but also dependent on me since they have lived with me for the last 20 years in a mother-daughter style home that I own. There will be no family left in New York and I would not want them to be alone. So we recently gave them a tour of the area in which we would like to move to. They said they liked it and we gave them the option in considering moving with us which they agreed. But I told them that we will not be living under the same roof. With their comments I can sense their fears. I would be very happy if they lived next door, down the block or even a couple of blocks away. I will always be there to make sure that whatever they need that they will be taken care of. I know as they get even older there will come a time that they will be even more dependent on me. I find that they are always looking to me for the answers. I don't have all the answers. I believe that they should be in an area where they can get out and socialize. But I don't know how to approach the subject of Senior Independent Living with them without them thinking that I am abandoning them. They are independent but I can say dependent on me also knowing that I am always there. So it is probably more my fear of having trouble approaching the subject with them because I feel guilty too. I just want them to be happy and I also think that being in an environment that they can meet people/friends and enjoy themselves is important too. My mother can sit in the house day in and day out and then my father gets mad because he needs and wants to go out and do something besides food shopping. My husband and I will be moving to a golf course community. We will be keeping ourselves busy I'm sure. I just don't want them sitting in a condo looking out on a golf course and not venturing out. I think that a Senior Independent Living complex will give them the means and chance to meet people around their age that they can do things with. It is always somewhat difficult moving but on top of that moving to another state and not knowing anyone makes it a little bit more of a challenge. How do I get them to be open to the idea of checking out this type of housing?

Expert Answers

Donna Quinn Robbins is the author of Moving Mom and Dad and On the Road of Life, Drive Yourself. She helps individuals, families, retirement communities, and corporations make successful transitions through her company, Ultimate Moves. Robbins is an active public speaker on the topic of senior transition services and has appeared on NBC's Today Show.

You should find 3 communities in your area. Visit each one and find out what they offer. Tell your parents you heard about a few places that are fun and have a lot going on if that is what they would like. The community will sell itself. You just need to tell your parents they are not living with you. The problem is that they have lived with you for 20 years and don't know any other way. Bring it up slowly, take them to lunch and events at the communities so they can see what life would be like for them and let them know you are around and will be seeing them often.