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How to Choose the Right Senior Living Community: A Guide for Families

Joni was so right when she wrote The Circle Game. The seasons they absolutely do go round and round. And in what seems to be the blink of an eye, you are all grown up with a family of your own. Where did the time go? No doubt your parents are asking the same question as they ponder their immediate future.
If you're fortunate, your  parents are still active, capable, and fun loving. You want them to make the most of this exciting chapter of life. It is obvious – at least to you - they are at a crossroad and need to make some decisions about their living situation. For a myriad of reasons, they have yet to let go of the family home, even though it has become more of a chore to maintain, rather than the treasure chest of memories that it once was. Though you want to help them move forward, you may be unsure how to best support them.
When it comes to helping parents downsize, it’s important to remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
First and foremost, you want to consider their feelings. This is not a tough love situation. Pushing and rushing will not get positive results. So, be like those Romans and take your time to get it right. Be patient, thoughtful and deliberate in your approach, gently encouraging Mom and Dad to let go of the old and embrace the new.
As your parents consider selling the family home and rightsizing into a senior living apartment community, let them know you are enthusiastic about a step that will maximize their retirement experience. Tell them you will be with them to share the heavy lifting – both physical and emotional.

Step One: Conversation

Bear in mind that leaving the home that rings with the memories of your childhood can be traumatic for parents – and for you. When the family gathers to broach the issue of moving, focus on the positive aspects of joining a senior living community. Instead of looking backward, lean in to celebrating moving forward. Start talking about destinations and ask questions. Do your parents want to stay local? Or are they looking for a sun filled retirement in Texas or Arizona? And if so, you can start researching long distance moving companies. What is their timeline? Do they have a realtor they want to work with? Not only will your questions show your interest, they will also possibly motivate your parents to start getting serious about moving. Be curious and interested, not overly bossy -  unless you want to be told to mind your own business.

The Physical Process

One of downsizing’s biggest hurdles is wading through the clutter of decades of family life. The prospect of tackling this gargantuan job can be overwhelming enough to keep parents from even considering moving on. This is where you can be most hands on and helpful. The cleaning and sorting process will take time. So, again,think of Rome. It will definitely not be done in one day.
Maybe you can commit to several weekends or evenings and make it a family adventure. Once your parents know they can count on you and/or other family for help, they will be less stressed about the idea of moving. As you go through the house together, room by room, you will help decide what’s making the cut, what gets donated, and what is headed to the trash bin. Be prepared for some meandering along memory lane. Get ready for the laughter when you get to the old photographs - and maybe a few tears of nostalgia.

The Moving Process

Helping aging parents downsize means making yourself available to assist on moving day. If you can possibly arrange your busy schedule to be there, you can help them transform their new apartment into a fabulous new home. If you live out of town, you can show your support via facetime and try to schedule a visit soon after the move. But be forewarned, once your parents get a taste of Overture active adult life, they may have a tough time fitting you into their busy schedule.

The Emotional Process

For some parents, separating from the home they lived in for decades can be really difficult. Instead of arguing that their beloved home is now an oversized money pit, introduce them to all of the wonderful features of Overture senior living apartments. From apartments specifically designed for their comfort, to the incredible list of daily and evening activities, to the unlimited social opportunities, Overture offers the best of independent senior living.
Your thank you note for your efforts will be written on your parent’s faces.The moment they unpack their boxes they will be all smiles -  and wondering why they waited so long.

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