Have you talked to your partner or spouse about your senior living plans?
If not, you’re not alone. Thirty-six percent of couples say they haven’t even thought about retirement plans, according to a Fidelity Investments survey of 1,051 couples in 2015.
Even if you can finish each other’s sentences at this point in your relationship, there’s no guarantee that you and your partner agree about your vision for the future.
The earlier you talk about your goals and options, the more likely you are to arrive at a plan that meets both of your needs.
Here are some tips for talking to your partner about senior living options.
1. Anticipate Change
When couples leave the workforce after 20, 30, 40 or more years together, it often triggers a series of role changes and emotional adjustments.
Everything from your daily schedule to your available free time will change. You might discover that you and your partner have conflicting ideas about how to spend your newly free time.
For example, one partner plans to relax at home after a long career, but their homemaker partner feels stressed by the disruption of daily routines. Or perhaps one partner looks forward to foreign travel, while the other prefers to visit with friends and family closer to home.
Understanding that change is inevitable and being willing to compromise will help you adjust as you chart your next steps together.
2. Envision Your Ideal Senior Living Lifestyle
What do you look forward to doing once a career or raising a family no longer consumes the bulk of your time?
Think about what makes you happy!
Here are a few options to consider.
- Travel – take in sights close to home or around the globe
- Visit – with children, grandchildren, siblings, friends and cousins
- Connect – with new friends, old acquaintances, your church and charitable causes
- Learn – a new language, hobby, recipe or skill
- Start – a new business, novel, garden or pastime
- Get fit – try out a new exercise plan or healthy new recipes
Want more ideas? Consult a reference like What Color is Your Parachute? For Retirement: Planning Now for the Life You Want.
An addition to the popular career planning series by Richard Nelson Bolles and John E. Nelson, this book offers practical tools and exercises to help you build an ideal senior living lifestyle.
There are many other books that can help shape your vision. Ask a librarian for ideas.
You can create a bucket list of experiences on your own or work with your partner.
3. Begin Talking to Your Partner
Depending on your relationship, this step may come before creating your vision.
Regardless of timing, introduce the idea of senior living planning when you are both relaxed and in a good mood.
Begin with open-ended questions, such as:
- When do you think you want to retire?
- Have you thought about what you want to do when we’re no longer working?
- What do you think our days will look like?
- Are there any people or places you’ve always wanted to visit?
- How long do you think we should keep living in our present home? Would we have more time if we downsized?
Your goal is to get your partner thinking about the next phase of your life together. You’ll also want to identify potential areas of conflict to negotiate.
If at any point you or your partner become flustered or defensive, you can switch to a lighter topic.
4. Settle on a Senior Living Plan
After you’ve started talking to your partner about senior living options, you’ll likely have several open-ended discussions.
Once these talks get more specific, it’s time to create a more formal plan. Some items to consider include:
- What is the top retirement priority for each of us?
- How long do we want to live in our current home and community?
- Do we want to keep living in a single-family home or explore a senior living community?
- Will one or both of us keep working in some capacity?
- Will we both spend much of our time together at home, or will one or both of us leave for much of the day?
- How will we divide up household chores, like cooking, cleaning, laundry, home maintenance, cutting the lawn and shoveling snow?
- What hobbies, sports, activities, and friendships do we want to cultivate – individually and as a couple?
- Do we want to make any lifestyle changes affecting our health?
- What provisions can we make to ensure that a partner left alone can continue to enjoy the lifestyle we have established as a couple?
You might involve a Certified Financial Planner or other counselor in finalizing your plans. Consider reviewing your plans every year. Once you’ve achieved some goals, you may find new ones!
Why Senior Living Communities Makes Sense for Many Couples
Many couples in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond prefer the companionship, financial security, amenities and abundant activities of a premier senior living community like Friendship Village of Dublin.
There are many upsides of downsizing to an independent living apartment or villa!
A maintenance-free lifestyle frees both partners to pursue their dreams – together and individually. No more cleaning, home maintenance and lawn care chores. Chef-prepared meals even eliminate the need for daily cooking.
Plus with hundreds of other like-minded singles and couples, it’s easy to make new friends.
As Resident Barbara B. said, “I love all the people and all of our social activities, and I don’t have to clean or cook anymore. Yay!”
By choosing a senior living community today, you take control of your future. You also take the burden off your children, relieving them of the stress and pressure of deciding for you in the future.
At Friendship Village of Dublin, if either partner needs long-term care in the future, you’re covered through LifeCare. This all-in-one package of flexible services, amenities and future health care at a predictable cost gives you more freedom to enjoy your active, independent lifestyle.
Since our community offers assisted living, skilled nursing, short-term rehab and memory care support on a scenic 29-acre campus, you can stay close together even if one partner’s needs change.
Ready to Start Planning Your Senior Living Lifestyle?
We’re here to help! If you’re looking for an active senior community that emphasizes health and fun, you owe it to yourself to explore our premier LifeCare community.
You’re invited to schedule a safe, socially distanced visit to learn about all we offer and see if we’re right for you!
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