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istock_000010227504_extrasmall-doctor-and-patientIt’s important to open up lines of communication about the best time to move into a retirement home well before that’s a necessity. A crisis situation isn’t the best time to make such a big important decision. After all, would you want to pick a college based on which had a dorm room left over the day before classes? Or buy a house simply because it was the only one available when you are about to be homeless? Of course not. Big decisions that affect where you live, how you spend your time, how you budget your money, and how you look after your health are best made in a fully intentional way whenever possible, rather than in the chaos that comes after a long hospital stay, a fall, or some other mishap.

Those lines of communication can be with a number of different people, both loved ones and professionals, involved in your ongoing care. You will want to talk to your adult children, perhaps, or other next of kin to be very clear about how a move might affect investments, insurance, power of attorney, and other legal and financial matters. Sometimes friends and family may have a hard time accepting that you are aging and need assistance, or they may be the ones broaching the subject with you when you are reluctant. However your unique situation is playing out, know that tackling this sometimes tough topic is because everyone involved wants what is best and will help you most enjoy this time in your life.

You can also talk to your healthcare provider, financial adviser, and other professionals who help you manage your affairs. They might have some insight into what type of care would best suit your needs and how you can fit that into your budget. Often the trickiest part of paying for a senior care community isn’t that it is more expensive than owning your own home or renting a condo, but that it might mean selling or moving around assets, or navigating different insurance scenarios. It’s good to periodically look into how you can best manage your money, anyways, in case there is new information that could help you make a more comfortable arrangement.

The most important line of communication to keep open, however, is with yourself. You should always be honest with yourself first and foremost about your feelings about moving into a retirement home, and your reasons for doing so. It’s common to feel a mix of emotions as you make this big step, and acknowledging those feelings is the first step to feeling positive about the new chapter you are beginning. It may be hard to say goodbye to your old home, for example, or to admit that you’ve been having memory issues. However, accepting your reasons for considering senior care and proactively making the choice to pursue it are some of the most loving things you can do for yourself and giving yourself the care you deserve.