Gayle Lagman-Creswick



Adult children aren't always best judge of senior housing


During my many years of working in the retirement industry, I was always a little surprised to hear objections from the adult children of prospective clients who desired to move into a retirement community.


I estimate that a good 50 percent of the children were very supportive of their parent's decision. Another 40 percent were lukewarm about the idea, and another 10 percent were overtly opposed to the idea.


I feel sure that retirement communities will never see some of the parents whose children strongly object to the idea. Those parents, who listened to their children, closed their minds to the retirement community idea and never went near one. Those are the same children who one day become amazed that Mom and Dad cannot care for themselves, the kids cannot care for them, and they are looking around for emergency placement in a nursing home.


The reasons adult children gave for their objections were varied. The most common reason I heard was, "Mom and Dad are not ready for that. They are both in good health." Delving deeper into this objection, I found that adult children generally fail to acknowledge the fact that Mom and Dad are aging and may not always be able to manage the family home, or that they may not want the care and managing of the family home.


Another reason given, especially for the up-front-buy-in communities, was "It does not appear to be a good investment."


They cannot distance themselves from the real estate. As pure real estate, it is not a good investment. That is not the reason prospects make that decision. They are investing in their planned future, not bricks and mortar. They want to know that no matter what health challenges may arise, they have planned for them. Often there was a lack of knowledge of exactly what the parents had in mind. It is good idea for adult children to become intimate with the details of the retirement arrangement their parents are considering and discuss it with them.


However, parents have made many difficult decisions in their lifetime, and they are capable of making this one. I would hope that the children would be supportive. I have seen more than a few cases where the children have become the parent and the parents have taken on the role of a submissive child. This does nothing for the self esteem of the parents.


I think, underlying the objection of the adult children, is a reluctance on the part of the children to experience a huge change in their lives: no more family home where they grew up - after all, the children are aging too, and change comes hard for all of us aging people.




Gayle Lagman Creswick began her career as a registered nurse and quickly realized that she had a passion and dedication for improving services and systems of care for the elderly. Since that time she has dedicated her career to healthcare administration and consultation in the field of elder care. After studying Long Term Care Administration at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Gayle subsequently held multiple key management positions in this arena including Regional Marketing Director of a large Life Care Retirement Community, Executive Director for a hospice provider, and Director of Operations for a healthcare organization with seven skilled nursing facilities and six retirement communities. Prior to holding these positions, she served in numerous executive roles with organizations providing a comprehensive range of elder care services. Gayle now uses her wealth of experience in the elder arena to provide strategic, management and marketing consultation to long term care and continuing care retirement communities. She is also a healthcare writer and speaker and currently writes a senior advice column. Send Gayle your thoughts:

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