Tuesday 14 March 2017

Ensure Your Parents Feel at Home in Retirement – A Thanks Giving Gesture
Most people in Jobs often ponder as to what it would be to have a Permanent home. Profession makes us move places, leaving us feeling deprived of the solace one gets in one’s own house, as their final abode. The feeling gets more pronounced in the twilight years. Generally, closer to retirement we try to relocate considering factors like - likely companions, suitable community, medical facilities in the vicinity, peaceful / countryside life, or for a bigger or smaller property at an aspired location.
The way you cannot forget your childhood homes, in the very same way, our retirement homes also give us a memorable treasure. In case your parents are planning to relocate as part of their retirement, you must be the key player in making their decision a happy one. How???
Just like Bollywood is all about entertainment, a good home (or for that matter any property), is heavily dependent on location, location & location. It is better to add a few extra minutes to your commute for a better home, than be in the middle of commotion.
In fact, location is the key driver of where we settle finally. In our later years, it’s very important to stay close to family and friends who would care for you and enjoy being around. We might want to finally want to make that dream home in the suburbs a reality and get out of the city life we never really cared for.
Lifestyle is paramount; and the neighborhood we are in will shape that lifestyle as much as where we sleep each night. Work with your parents to tease out their interests, hobbies, where their friends are settled and if they have an ideal location they always wanted to live at. Talk to them about how and where do they see their retirement years and start your property search there.

Just like any other property hunt, your parents will have specific requirements for their retirement real estate. Help them audit and capture all of these. Do they need a pet friendly property? Ground floor only? Gardens they can tend to? Hobbies they want to pick up? Ask what’s non-negotiable and what’s a nice to have.
Review the myriad of options out there. Community / Cooperative living, retirement villages and communities, homes specially modified for aged needs, or a house with all close ones in an area?  A list of needs and wants will let you zero in to the perfect location.
Help them shortlist
Follow up your research with in-person visits to locales your parents are considering buying into. Interview them together and make sure their location, features, and amenities measure up. Treat it like any other property inspecting process – tick all the boxes around your requirements, get professional assistance where needed, and look under the proverbial rug to make sure there are no unwelcome surprises. Also, (I cannot emphasize enough) do a thorough check on the SAFETY and MEDICAL FACILITIES available!
Encourage a financial health check
Even if your parents are downsizing in retirement, there are costs associated with that move. Help family members get a complete picture of retirement home costs- One time & Recurring. Assess and ensure that they are well manageable, without major compromise to their lifestyle. If they’re financially adrift, use a suitable financial advisor.
Some retirement accommodations offer options for long term care, and you might want to look at insurance for this. Though it may be confronting, being honest about finances will help minimize distress and prevent disaster. Just remember that money can be a sensitive subject, and attitudes differ generationally.
Reverse Mortgage
The concept of reverse mortgage is catching up in India. It is basically a loan given by a Bank to Old people, generally 60 plus, in lieu of the property which is reverse mortgaged. The owners do not repay the loan in their Life-time. The loan amount including interest is recovered by the bank after demise of both the couple. Generally they cater for 20-25 years, but invariably the clause exists that the property can be taken over by the Bank only after the death of both – the husband & wife.
Comfort Them to Accept the Change Happily
We humans are quite averse to accepting change. There would be niggling worries & doubts, right from daily grocery supply to medics & vets. These have to be part of the Initial Research while deciding the property. These have to be coordinated & organized once relocating. Transitioning to retirement can make us worry about losing touch with the people and places that matter most. Choose retirement homes that help your loved ones maintain habits and hobbies they love, and communities that help them thrive, not wither. Identify aspects of their life that can remain constant while some things shift. 
Listen carefully to what your parents want, need and feel about the process and their accommodation options. Then step up and help them do the work, rather than taking over. By empowering your loved ones to research and make their own decisions – you’ll ensure they have ownership over those choices.
Lastly! Do visit them often, because family is happiness.


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