Our lives are made up of moments. Some moments happen so frequently that they seem to bleed into each other like a long line of never ending repeats. Some moments are a little more rare, they come along every few years or so, and are what make up most of our memories. You might remember the time the family went to Yellowstone, or the time the raccoon got into the trash and scared mom. We all have these moments, some cherished and others we try our best not to think about. These are the good and bad blending together to weave the tapestry that is our lives.
There are also the truly rare moments, life altering, fork in the road moments. The points in our lives when a major decision needs to be made, that will lay the path for the next chapter of our story. Those moments only come along a handful of times in a life. The day you graduate college, your wedding day, the birth of your first child, your first house, or moving into a retirement community.
Every day seniors are faced with a major life moment, disguised as a simple move. Its just downsizing, simplifying our lives or so they try to convince themselves. This might be the most under rated milestone in a persons life. We have all moved before, some of us dozens of times. You might try and tell yourself that this one isn’t any different, but it is, very different. In many cases it’s giving up the homes we’ve raised our children in, and/or the places we’ve lived in for a half a century. Not to mention the fact that we are thinking of giving up our anonymity, and moving into a community where everything is shared; the events you attend, the meals you enjoy and even movie nights, all shared. Are we really ready for this? Do we want to give up our home, and live within this big place, in a small apartment, and surrounded by a bunch of old strangers? Can we afford to live in a place like this? Will our money last? What about the kids? These are the major questions facing seniors today as they embark on the last great milestone of their lives.
Those who are lucky enough to have families to share in this decision are more often than not faced with fights, guilt, and arguments. Everyone knows what needs to be done, but no one agrees. As a regional director of sales in the senior living industry, I have seen this happen all too often. Families that mean well, trying their best to help their parents with a move, only to end up making the decision more difficult. These Seniors want to better their lives, but find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. They are frozen, unable to make a decision, because they just can’t please everyone. Don’t get me wrong, this is not the children’s fault. This is no ones fault, and everyone’s fault at the same time.
We, as a society, do a very good job of recognizing most of the big moments: the graduations, weddings, births, mortgages. We just have a bad habit of failing miserably when it comes to seniors. So, how do we best help mom and dad with this decision? The first step is to recognize how big, scary, and necessary the decision is that’s facing us. Once we realize the magnitude of the moment, we generally are able to rise to the occasion and make the best of it.