For Our Parents
Looking back over a few years, we see that about 60% of new Villagers made the decision to move to Cross Keys Village without the help of their children. The children – if any – may have been involved in the moving process, but they did not weigh in on the very decision made by their parents to move to a CCRC. For the other 40% of Villagers, children were involved in the decision to move, sometimes intricately so.
We have gathered below some of the concerns we hear regularly from adult children whose parents may be candidates for a retirement community. We recommend you start with our Continuing Care FAQ page as well as this one for a basic overview of how our program works.
I don’t think Mom and Dad are ready for a home. They’re not that bad.
Such talk betrays a misconception of what Residential Living is all about. Residential Living should be considered in the prime of your parents’ retirement years, before they get too frail to enjoy it to the fullest: The social interaction and the wellness opportunities in the Village will slow down the effects of age, possibly reversing them for a while. The perfect age to move is when home maintenance becomes a burden. Far from being “ready for a home,” many Villagers remain in their cottages or apartments for 10, 15, and even 20 years.
My brother and I do not see eye to eye about this move.
In such cases, we recommend giving more weight to the opinion of the child who lives closest to the parents, or who helps them most regularly. West Coast Brother may be distressed that Mom and Dad are talking about selling the house where he still has his own room. However, Next Door Sister, who takes Mom and Dad to appointments and offers her assistance for several hours every week, has a much clearer view of what is best for them.
My parents are worried about the cost.
Of course they are. They haven’t had a mortgage payment in years, and therefore they think that living in their paid-off house is “free.” You may need to review together their monthly bills and recent (or deferred) big-ticket repairs around the house. Doing so might prove to them that a predictable monthly service fee in a CCRC is very attractive… once they realize all the benefits that are covered.
This is stressful for them.
Then please share with them what we have observed invariably: Right now they are worried about all that is entailed in making the decision and preparing for the move. Downsizing involves processing memories, and it can be emotionally exhausting. However, two weeks after the move you will not recognize them. Take our word for it: They will not think or talk again about the silver, the crystal, the baby shoes or the baby grand they had to leave behind. Instead, they will tell you: “We should have done this years earlier.”
Do they need to sign off all their assets when they move in?
Of course not. When the “old folks homes” that catered to our ancestors began operations a century or more ago, people might have been asked to sign over the farm in return for their care, but nobody has done that for many decades. Retirement living is no longer “one size fits all.” Your parents will fill out an application form on which they will list their current assets and income. Using this form, we will tell them which apartments and cottages they can afford. The way they manage their finances after moving here will be up to them. We simply ask that they do not make any large donation that might compromise their ability to pay for their care in the future. If your parents are financially comfortable and do not wish to disclose their wealth, a simple letter from their financial advisor is all we require.
Dad is doing great, but Mom is slowing down. Will they qualify for Residential Living?
They probably will. When a couple with different needs decides to move into an apartment or a cottage, we look at them as one unit, safety-wise, not two. If Dad can take care of most of Mom’s needs, we will gladly welcome them (although Mom on her own may have been a poor candidate for Residential Living). In such a situation, Dad would experience great relief after the move, knowing that his beloved spouse is in a safe environment with options for her future if something should happen to him first.
But later on?
There is a chance that at some point your mother’s condition will become more than your father can handle. At that time, your family will decide – with our guidance – what is the best next step for your mother (Personal Care or the Health Care Center, depending on her condition). Your father will keep on living in his cottage or apartment. He can visit your mother for hours every day, even if he stops driving at some point. Your parents will be almost as close to each other but the heavy care (bathing and medicine management, for instance) will be off his shoulders. Our wide range of services, including Adult Day Services, make Cross Keys Village an ideal choice for couples who are not aging exactly at the same rate.
I see the merits of this program but my parents are dead set against it.
In that case, there is not much that you can do: No one joins a Residential Living program “kicking and screaming.” The best is for you to stay educated about the options that are available to your parents, and possibly to bring up the example of old friends who are thriving in a CCRC environment. You may want to explain to your parents that if they do not make a decision about their impractical, unwholesome or unsafe living conditions, you (the child) may be faced with making a rush decision for them later on in a time of crisis.
What about home care, or adding an in-law apartment to our house?
These are valid options, but in our view they do not address the core benefit of living in a CCRC, which is the social interaction. Whether at home with a few hours of professional care a week, or in an addition at your house, your parents will be lonely for most of the day. In a village, they would make friends and remain more active physically and intellectually.
Should we tag along during the tour?
That’s up to you, but if you do, please don’t you try to sell Cross Keys Village, acting overenthusiastic and asking “Am I old enough to live here? Where do I sign?” The decision needs to come from your parents, and it is not usually a speedy one. We are here to help: Our Retirement Counselors do not work on commission or put pressure on visitors. Their main goal is to educate families and to help you find the perfect match for Mom and Dad’s current and future needs.
Why should we pick Cross Keys Village?
We come with 100+ years of tradition for a start, and our size allows us to offer a true continuum of services. We have Residential Living options to match a wide range of budgets, and we do not bundle unwanted services into the monthly service fee such as a mandatory meal plan. Unlike many villages, we are spread over a vast campus, allowing your parents some breathing space and much privacy when they want it. Our team members and our organization are truly mission driven. We look forward to your call or your email, and to answering your toughest questions. We congratulate you on the dedication to your parents that you showed by reading this page.