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There comes a point in most of our lives when you notice that your parents or older relatives need a bit more help than they used to. They may be keen gardeners and DIYers, soldiering on cleaning and maintaining the house and trying to stay on top of the garden, but perhaps you’ve noticed that it’s starting to take its toll.
For many families, broaching the subject of downsizing feels like a conversation that’s just too difficult to start. Some people feel very strongly that they just want to stay where they are. They may fear giving up their independence. Perhaps they can’t bare leaving the family home, full of so many memories. It can be an emotive time. So how do you persuade them to even consider it?
Start the conversation
Starting the conversation early and then being patient is advisable. Alexandra Johnson, Sales and Marketing Director for Adlington Retirement Living, explains: “Our Homeowners often tell us that they started thinking about the need to move, years before they made their decision. In some cases, they felt that it was too soon for them”.
“Interestingly, once they have settled in to one of our retirement living communities, the most common feedback we receive is that they wished they’d made the move years ago.”
John and Jean Geddes had lived in their family home for 46 years, before they decided to move to The Sailings, an Adlington Retirement Living community in Southport.
“We were living in a massive house and it was just getting too much for Jean” says John. “I couldn’t do much and she was doing all the work. She didn’t realise but she was exhausted.”
Jean adds: “I didn’t want to be tied to the house. I wanted to go out and do things.”
When they visited The Sailings, John said they made their decision straight away.
“It’s better for both of us here. I can go cycling. Jean can walk to the shops, use her bike and go for a ride if she wants to and there are plenty of people here who she can talk to. We’ve made friends already. We should have moved years ago.”
Focus on the future
Another tip is to try to focus on the future, celebrate the past and to highlight the benefits that a move can offer.
Eddie and Mabel Griffiths – who moved into The Bridges, another Adlington Retirement Living development in Macclesfield – love walking and the great outdoors. They could quickly see the benefits of moving somewhere with less hilly terrain to explore, a beautiful view, lovely gardens and more free time to enjoy them all.
“With the hills where we were living, I couldn’t walk as much as I wanted to. I can keep going on the flat, but not on the hills” says Mabel.
“Since we moved here, we can walk straight out onto the Macclesfield Canal footpath and it’s flat.
“We’ve enjoyed buying some modern furniture for our apartment too. We’ve always been very traditional in the past, so it’s been nice to change our style.
“I feel like a lady of leisure really – being waited on and not having to do a lot. We’ve got so much more leisure time to do what we want to do.”
For many families, overcoming preconceptions is a challenge. Some people hear ‘retirement community’ and maybe imagine a certain stereotype.
Joyce Burgess moved to The Chimes, an Adlington Retirement Living development in Cheadle, in July 2019. Her experience of older relatives shaped some of her thoughts about her own future retirement.
“My mother lived until she was 92. When we moved to the family house, she came to live with us.
“My husband’s parents were in the house that they’d moved into in 1926 when they were married. His mum died and his father lived there and wouldn’t move until he was so ill that Peter went one morning and said ‘well you either go into hospital or you come with us’.
“Having experienced this, I just don’t want to ever get to that stage when somebody’s got to move me.
“I think some people have a perception of retirement communities, sitting around and doing nothing. That couldn’t be further from the truth here. I go to Physiofit every week and I’ve just started chair yoga. Last week a group of us went out for lunch at a local restaurant. I go to our on-site hair dressing salon every week. I’ve made some really good friends here.”
Peace of mind for the future
Worrying about the well-being of your parents is a major concern for families.
Adlington Homeowners have access to round-the-clock support from a dedicated team, 365 days a year. The 24-hour on-site team are on-hand to look out for Homeowners’ well-being, and to arrange tailored care, if required – all of which enables individuals to maintain their quality of life. It’s completely flexible, so if requirements change in the future, the discreet care team will be able to accommodate and support their needs.
Joyce Burgess explains: “Having experienced how my husband went downhill so quickly, I looked into the care options when I chose to move here. It was very important to me that I can move in now, when I don’t need any care or additional support, but it’s available if there is a time when I need that.
“I think the overriding point that I would stress is not to leave it too late. To do it whilst you’re able. No matter what stage of life, moving to a retirement living community will be a major decision. Our parents were always saving for a rainy day. The most important thing is to recognise your rainy day!”