There isn’t a specific right way or a wrong way in knowing how to handle retirement wishes and aging parent care. It all should be approached from a carefully customized plan developed between you and your loved one. As with anybody, it’s important to note what seniors want.
First and foremost, drop the term seniors. Seniors want to be called people, or 55-plus. It’s that easy and quite simple. When you use the term “senior” you are ascribing an adjective to people. When you use the term “older” or “elder” those adjectives mostly have negative connotations. Today, more people in their 60’s and 70’s and older are living full, healthy lives and the negative adjective doesn’t fit.
As people grow older, housing needs and desires change. Helping your folks find a good fit is important, as they need your input, as well as they need you to actively listen to their desires. As with the term ‘seniors’ they also would rather not live in a senior housing facility. Finding a nice housing community with lawns that are maintained, driveways and sidewalks that are shoveled in snowy areas is a great choice.
They want to be close to family, and spend time with their children and grandchildren. Finding housing closer to you keeps everybody on their toes. Not only is it good for your folks as they do get older, but the grandchildren the rich reward of spending time with them.
Listen to them. They love sharing stories. Stories from their past, about things they’ve done, and the things they have seen. The history in the stories is a memory that you can pass on and laugh about with your own family.
They also still appreciate manners. Words like ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ still mean a lot in their book. Greeting them upon arrival and saying ‘good-bye’ still says ‘I love you’.
Encourage them to continue to live big. Now that everyone has moved out of the house, and they have retired, it’s time for mom and pop to travel some. Encouraging them to go out and continue to live a little will help them know that you believe in them and their dreams.
Everybody is different. Listen to their needs and understand how they see aging will help you help them.