Dear Maria,

How do you convince your parents to sell their home and move into a retirement community?


SMH at M&D

Dear SMH,

Tough sell. For aging parents, this is a huge change. Not only is it downsizing; it’s admitting a shift toward greater dependence on others. They don’t like to be told what to do, especially by their offspring! Acceptance will come not by trying to convince them, but by leading with your heart. Listen to your parents’ concerns. Behind the arguments you may hear emotions like fear, or sadness. Acknowledge how hard this is for them. Leaving their beloved, comfortable home is a big loss, and they need time to accept and grieve it. Through the process, you’ll feel your own shift towards parenting your parents. This role brings with it difficult conversations and decisions. Be gentle and firm with your parents: gentle in understanding and accepting their feelings, and firm in your guidance as to what’s best. Try not to sell them on the idea, but love them into it. Given time and compassion, they’ll hopefully come to see this as a good change, and welcome the new friends and activities the retirement community will bring.