I was chatting recently with a friend of mine about his parents, particularly his concerns about their plans – of lack of – for the future.
They’re only in their 70s – so still young, and certainly not NEEDING to change anything – they live on acreage, they have a couple of dogs, they love their life!
But my friend is feeling they should be considering their options, especially with respect to the opportunity to spend time with his kids before they get too old, and he wondered what I thought about him building a granny flat for them to move into.
His kids are the only grandkids, they have space – it all seems to make sense.
With benefit of having gone through my own parents moving – too late – we talked about that experience and what I have learnt.
The main thing he hadn’t considered, is that if his parents move into a granny flat rather than into a place of their own, they may not tap into a community of their own.
They may become more dependent on my friend and his family, and in doing so, they may unwittingly lose some of their own independence.
It’s an interesting conundrum.
With benefit of watching my own parents move too late, and under a set of circumstances that forced them to move, I know 2 things.
First, people must make their own decisions – and there’s a great saying: “If you let others make the decisions for you, you will never be happy with the outcome!”
And second, the sooner you move, the sooner you tap into the new community, its people and activities.
There’s another saying: “If you wait until you NEED to move, you’ve left it too late.”
As I said, my parents moved too late, and they never tapped into all of the resources and opportunities their new Retirement Village community offered.
By comparison, some friends of ours, at almost 90 and just over 90, made the decision to move into a Retirement community in NZ a couple of years ago, and they are living the dream!
They are involved in everything from mahjong to movies, and carving out not just a great life for themselves as a couple, but also, and very importantly, the continuation of that great life if one or other is left.
There’s no doubt of course, it’s a big deal to move – especially if it’s to another town or even another suburb.
And of course, the older you get, the tougher that challenge becomes.
When my parents decided to move from the Gold Coast to be closer to us in Brisbane, we suggested they rent for 6 months to make sure it was the right decision vs finding somewhere else on the Coast.
Unfortunately for them, that was too big a leap – wasted money, the worry of storing furniture, the hassle of moving again – just too much.
Sadly though, the result was a decision that was not well thought out, and in truth, one that didn’t give them the very best outcome.
So my suggestion to my friend, is to encourage his parents to consider renting something close by to see if they like it first up.
And then, to encourage them to consider ALL of the options with an open mind.
I realise this is sometimes easier said than done – and certainly my own mother’s experience of her parents going into a nursing home was not good which coloured her own view of moving into a Retirement Village.
These days, there are so many choices – it’s just a matter of finding the best fit.
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Whether it’s because of dementia, an acquired brain injury or a mental illness – the result is stress and worry for individuals and for families and carers.
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