Giving up the family home can be a hugely emotional experience but it is important to make sure everyone is happy
One of the biggest concerns voiced by people moving into retirement homes is how they will manage when family and friends come to visit
If you have been used to accommodating everyone in a large family house, it can be hard to imagine how everyone will fit into a small flat without a garden.
The good news is that retirement home planners are one step ahead of you and have already thought through this potential hurdle in some detail.
For a start, many retirement homes have lovely communal gardens, where the grandchildren can run around and play while the grown-ups chat.
Second, many have smart visitor lounges with small kitchens attached, which can be used freely by residents, so that you can entertain in style without having to tidy up first.
Many retirement homes also have parking spaces for visitors, and most are situated within walking distance of local pubs and restaurants.
Best of all, many retirement complexes now come with a guest suite, usually a self-contained double bedroom with en suite bathroom, which residents can reserve in advance for visiting family and friends to stay in. And the price? Typically around £25 a night, a fraction of what it would cost them to stay in a nearby hotel, and with the added bonus that they are staying just down the corridor from you.
As for the big family gatherings at Christmas and other traditional times of year, many people downsizing into retirement homes find that one unexpected bonus of their new living arrangements is that they are no longer automatically expected be organiser and host every year, a role which can be increasingly exhausting as you get older, not to mention stressful and expensive.
Indeed one of the great pleasures can be handing over the job of organising the family Christmas to a younger member of the family and giving them the opportunity to do it their way.
Being able to enjoy the excitement of grandchildren opening their presents as a guest in someone else’s house, without having to worry about whether the turkey is cooked or not, is one of the secret treats of retirement-home living.
The key to the success of this kind of transition is, of course, to communicate – to discuss with your family the changes taking place, why they are happening and how everyone feels about them so that no one feels left out or slighted in any way.
Giving up the family home, particularly if it is the home in which your children were born and brought up, can be a hugely emotional experience for everyone, and so it is important to acknowledge this and make sure that everyone is happy.
As Amanda Tomlinson, the marketing manager at retirementmove, the UK’s specialist national property agents for retired living, says: “If possible, the end result has to be establishing a good balance between having the right kind of family support around you, and giving you what you want in your retirement years.”