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I Want to Stay At Home

How to approach the topic with your adult children

If seeing how the pandemic has devastated retirement communities and long-term care (LTC) facilities has you rethinking your future plans, you’re not alone. Aging in place has always been preferred by the majority of Canadian seniors, and now more than ever.

At the end of the day, how you choose to live your life is ultimately your decision. That said, your adult children are bound to have an opinion. How much input they get and how much it factors into your decision may depend – at least in part – on factors like finances and logistics.

Things to consider before you have the talk

While it is your decision where you choose to live, it’s normal for your adult children to have concerns. You’re their parent, after all!

Going into the conversation armed with information and answers to their questions and concerns will make the conversation easier and help put their minds at ease.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Finances – Is your mortgage paid off? Will you have to downsize or find more affordable housing? Do your children currently help pay for or intend to help pay for any of your living expenses? Answering these questions can help you determine not only if aging in place will be possible, but also how doing so will affect your adult children financially.
  • Caregiving – Many people count on their offspring to take on the role of primary caregiver when the need arises. It’s often just a “given”, yet the expectation isn’t always discussed beforehand. Even if you’re in good health right now, be prepared to talk about any expectations you have when it comes to their role in your care. It’s also advisable to look into in-home care services and costs so you and your family can plan accordingly.
  • Location – Location matters more than ever as age-related changes happen and needs to be considered when planning to age in place. The frequency of medical appointments increases with age, but so does the likelihood of mobility issues, making easy access to doctors and hospitals important. Also, your family will likely want you close by.

When you’re ready to have the talk with your adult children, be prepared for the possibility that they may have reservations about your choices. Try not to take it personally if they get upset; they love you and their concern is coming from a good place.

Be clear about your reasons for wanting to stay at home and try to answer their questions with as much detail and information as possible to help ease their fears.

Be sure to:

  • write down any points you want to make, such as aging in place being a safer alternative to LTC homes
  • explain how you will be able to afford to live comfortably while remaining at home
  • have information available about any long-term care insurance you may have
  • gather information on any relevant products or services, such as in-home care, assistive devices and technologies, and modifications to help you live safely

Talks about aging aren’t easy and even though your children are not actually children anymore, conversations about issues such as elderly care can be upsetting for them. It’s never easy to face the reality that your parent’s are getting on in the years.

Be patient and respectful, and listen, but also insist on the same in return. It is your life and your decision, after all.

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