Many older adults choose to relocate to senior communities. They can find companionship among peers, extra help with routine chores, and a home with much less maintenance than they deal with now. If your parents have announced their intention to move into a retirement community, there are steps you can take to help them find the right one for their needs.
1. Encourage and Support Their Decision
Moving to a senior living community is a big decision. It’s also one that your parents probably didn’t come to lightly. Encourage and support their choice, and offer to help in any way they see fit. That might be contacting movers or helping pick out colors for their new home. Unless you see red flags, resist the urge to judge their decision.
2. Assess Their Needs
You will want to take the time to help your parents honestly assess their needs. Even though they are adults, this is not a task that they should do on their own. It is easy to overlook problematic behaviors or warning signs of potential health risks when you are too close. If you have the opportunity to have an evaluation performed by an occupational therapist, go ahead and schedule it. Some universities have graduate students to perform this service within the surrounding community as part of their training.
You will also want to keep an eye on the future to avoid another move later on. Even if your parents are very independent now, they may not be in ten years. There are great senior communities Denver that encourage independent living and also offer extra services residents may need down the road, such as help with general household tasks or even memory care.
3. Explore Community Activities and Recreational Facilities
There are plenty of (sometimes false) ideas about what to expect from senior living. Look for a community that offers a nice mix of amenities and resources. A community clubhouse with a full activity calendar is a good sign of an active and engaged community. Walking trails, wellness programs, and opportunities for social interaction are all important to helping seniors stay healthy and happy.
4. Respect Their Autonomy
This is a time where it can be easy to slip into reverse roles: you take on the responsibility of parenting your own parents. However, you must learn to balance autonomy with risk while respecting their desire for independence. Finding that point will allow them to retain a high quality of life as they transition to this new stage.
Retirement communities and senior housing have come a long way in the past several decades. When your parents are ready to make that move, it is up to you to find the best ways to support their decision.