Seeing our children grow into adults is a powerful part of the parenting experience. The oldest members of a family hold a position of responsibility that can include grooming successors to take on the role of “family elders.” This important transition can be can be an emotional and challenging time for everyone involved.
Some adult children are not necessarily ready to become family elders. In part that’s because these transitions suggest a future without Mom or Dad, something most people don’t like to contemplate.
A frequent reaction is to deny the need to take action. This can lead to less-than-optimal
choices. For example, remaining in – and maintaining – a large home may seem like a way to hold onto the status quo. But once you start asking questions you may find it’s not the best option for a variety of reasons, including financial.
For aging parents, decisions around retirement are difficult because they bring back memories of similar experiences – not all positive – with their own parents. With many fewer options back in the day, they were often forced to make unwelcome compromises.
On the other hand, today’s older adults have a multitude of choices in terms of location, style, structure, cost, amenities and access to health care. With the proper environment and access to care, our parents can live healthier, more engaged and hopefully longer lives than previous generations.