Don’t Be Afraid of the Conversation
Discover expert advice on early retirement planning from New Pond Village’s Executive Director, Adam Manchester.
New Pond Village Campus Executive Director, Adam Manchester, was recently featured in Senior Living News, where he shared valuable advice on the crucial conversation about retirement planning. We’ve shared his op-ed below:
Deciding to move to a retirement community can be one of the biggest and most daunting decisions a family makes. It’s on par with picking a college or buying a first home. Often, though, families avoid long-term care planning until it becomes necessary or even an emergency. At that point, options are limited, and the decision can feel forced. Having “the conversation” as early as possible opens up more options and gives retirees the chance to fully enjoy life.
Initiating the Conversation
The trickiest part of long-term care planning is knowing when and how to start the conversation. You don’t have to commit to a plan the first time the topic comes up, but it is a great opportunity to understand baseline needs and wants. Adult children, are your parents’ friends moving to Florida or a retirement community? Great opportunity to find out if they are feeling lonely or looking for more social connections. Retirees, are you starting to feel burdened by lawn care, snow removal or home repairs? Maybe it’s time to consider lower-maintenance living. Whatever way the conversation comes up, I always encourage families to embrace it, because there might be resistance—from either parents or adult children—later on.
Long-term care doesn’t necessarily mean a nursing home or assisted living. Places like New Pond Village—continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs)—offer active, engaged independent living with a carefree lifestyle but also provide higher levels of care when and if the time comes. So once you’ve established wishes and goals, explore your options and find the right fit.
Planning for the Future
Is it important to be close to family and close friends, or does a warm climate top the priority list? What are must-have leisure activities and amenities? How much care, if any, is needed right now? When making long-term plans, consider both current and future needs, and how those needs will be met. It’s equally important to do research on how to pay for those services. CCRCs offer lifecare plans in which a portion of residents’ monthly fees go toward future medical expenses, adding some predictability and stability to the costs associated with aging.
Finding the Right Fit
Finally, do your best to get a feel for the communities you’re considering. This is a major decision and it’s important to find the right fit. At New Pond Village, our residents and their families put their faith and trust in us that we’re going to deliver on their expectations for the rest of their lives. I want to ensure that we fulfill that trust, and we work really hard every day to make that happen.
Whether it’s parent or child who opens the door to the long-term care planning conversation, don’t be scared of it. Talking openly, honestly and compassionately about wants, needs and expectations leads to the quality of life a senior has earned and deserves, on their terms.