An acquaintance wrote this about their parents and the decision to move to a retirement village/community:

In the end, we regret the decisions we waited too long to take.

We all know these phrases:

  • “Within the blink of an eye”
  • “Time flies”
  • “Carpe diem”
  • “Make hay while the sun shines”

Yet, how often do we act on these truisms?

A recently launched advertisement claims that the first child set to live longer than 200 years old has already been born. That statement of course, is debatable. It does however raise the awareness for the necessity of forward planning. Hindsight does indeed provide 20/20 vision and often we can learn from scenarios that have presented this clarity to others.

My mother recently passed away after a period of illness, having lived with us almost my entire married life.

I do believe that we both would have been happier, had she been in the position to have been able to plan for her retirement and not been solely reliant on our support.

Our relationship might have been stronger had she been in an environment which allowed her to form new friendships, stimulate her personal growth and contribute more valuably to her community.

I often wished for her, an age appropriate environment more suited to the needs of that season of her life.  Many of my days would be consumed with guilt at not always including my mom in our family activities.

I also wrestled with feelings of resentment at her constant witness to the way I chose to parent my children and felt angered by her subtle criticism.

She, in turn probably felt trapped by her lack of alternatives. These circumstances came about due to my father passing away at a fairly young age leaving no insurance/retirement plans..

That, coupled with my mother’s secrecy around financial matters, meant that we were none the wiser that the responsibility would ultimately fall on us. When this became clear (I realise now) I made decisions based largely on emotion.

Realistically, I am aware that life doesn’t always allow financial freedom and I am certainly not suggesting that families don’t or should not provide active home-based support. In our case though, we could have made different decisions had we taken into account the value of friendships, activities, exercise, independence and the self-esteem that would have come with considering a retirement village.

In as much as we embark on a relationship with intent, plan for a family, save for a home, work for a promotion ….so too, should we plan for retirement with a vision and a goal.

To read more about matters for consideration when preparing to move into a retirement village, click here.

Author:  Alexandria Black