A senior community? Oh, I don't need that - yet.
Most people feel this way when they initially think about senior living communities. Thinking about living choices in retirement often gets put off due to outdated stereotypes of what a senior community is like. Downsizing from the family home and sorting through 40+ years of accumulation can be an overwhelming task, especially the older we get.
Why consider senior living now?
Because the worst time to make this important decision is when you have to, due to a crisis. When a crisis happens, most families do not know what to do and may make mistakes as a consequence. Those mistakes can be financially and emotionally costly and, more importantly, can take a huge toll on the individuals and family involved. A compulsory move is rarely a positive experience and can often be filled with regrets.
Even if a move is not seen as imminent, it is smart planning to think about housing options sooner rather than later in order to discover the many living options for older adults as well as the ability to choose freely and to start organizing. Considering your choices for living in retirement means having a plan and sharing your wishes and expectations with your family.
What if life changes?
Think about what would be a “trigger” event that would prompt you to consider how the quality and safety of your life can be improved by a move to a senior community. Trigger events are not necessarily crises, but significant changes that open the door to options and choices. Some trigger events happen suddenly, some we expect to happen, and some happen gradually. A trigger event may include:
- You're living in an “empty nest”.
- You no longer wish to houseclean, do home repairs, lawn care or snow removal.
- You would prefer to do less cooking for yourself.
- Your neighborhood has changed, and your friends are no longer nearby.
- Your health changes, requiring safety adaptations in your house.
- Your spouse dies. You reduce or give up driving.
- Your extended family members move away or are not available to offer daily support.