Explore 5 Objections to Retirement Living


Your aging parent is struggling at home. You think it might be time for them to consider a move to a retirement community, but you’re dreading having the conversation. Or maybe you’ve already broached the subject with them and gotten nowhere.

You’re not alone.

Every day we see families wrestling with these thorny discussions. Here are 5 common phrases used by seniors who are resistant to the idea of living in a retirement community. Maybe you’ve heard one or more of them already.

  1. "I’m not ready." Perhaps your aging parent is willing to concede they might need to move sometime in the future, but that time is not now. They may minimize any problems they’re currently experiencing.
  2. “I don’t need to move. I get all the help I need right here.” A variation on the previous sticking point. They may take for granted support they’re getting from family, friends, or neighbours, not recognizing the stress it may be putting people under. Or they may assume their needs aren’t going to increase.
  3. “I don’t want to move to a home.” They equate retirement communities with nursing homes even though the two are completely different. They may have an outdated idea of retirement communities, perhaps based on experiences they had with their own aging parents.
  4. “It costs too much.” They may be intent on leaving money to their kids and/or grandkids and be averse to the idea of spending any of it on their own care. And they may overestimate the difference between the cost of living in their current home and moving to a retirement community.
  5. “I’m leaving my home feet first in a pine box.” They insist that they have absolutely no intention of leaving their current home. They flat out refuse to contemplate any other options.
quality of life
A move to retirement living can greatly increase quality of life.

It’s hard to overcome this type of resistance. While you may be focused on your parent’s safety, they may be worried that leaving their current home will mean giving up their independence. They don’t recognize that a move to a retirement community may actually increase their independence and quality of life by freeing them from mundane tasks and giving them more chances to make social connections and pursue various leisure interests.

Sometimes the best approach is to simply make the initial suggestion and wait for “teachable moments” to present themselves. Maybe your parent has a fall but avoids serious injury. A close call like this may open their eyes to the benefits of having people around in case something similar were to happen again. You might use this opening to suggest visiting some retirement communities “just to get a sense of what they’re like”.

It’s also a good idea to highlight the benefits of retirement communities rather than simply focusing on your parent’s need for care and support. Freedom from housework. Restaurant-style meals. More time to focus on what’s important to them.

That said, even if you do all this, you may still have a hard time getting past your parent’s objections. That’s when involving a trustworthy third-party can be helpful. Someone who knows local retirement communities inside and out and has experience helping families navigate these type of prickly discussions.

Ian Campbell
" The Guy In the Kilt "
ASA - Accredited Senior Agent
Sarazen Realty, Brokerage Ambleside Drive Office