It is never easy to tell your mum and/or dad that they need to sell the home they have lived in for years as it is simply getting too much.

But we all slow down, and tasks like cleaning, cooking, mowing the lawn and even putting the bins out may be becoming beyond them.

Or maybe you like to plan ahead to avoid such situations in the years ahead.

Whatever the situation, talking to your parents about moving into a retirement village can be a difficult discussion to have.

Here are tips to start the conversation.

Bring up selling the family home early

It is hard to look into the future, or even accept what is ahead, but it pays to start the conversation early and continue it often. Leaving questions about which retirement home is best for everyone until the last minute is likely to result in ill-informed decisions, a lack of options, and emotional distress for everyone involved.

Introducing the idea may be as straightfoward as asking your parent to think about what they would like their life to look like, in the event they can’t manage on their own. Do they have a preference for where or how they would like to live? Who do they want to be responsible for their financial and other affairs? Raising the topic before it’s needed is also a good way to gauge how resistant your parent may be to the idea of needing more help in the future.

Listen for their needs

It’s vital that you listen. If your parents raise concerns about moving, take note of these and try to work together to find more information to allay those fears. Many older people do not understand a retirement village does not end their independence and they can still make a meaningful contribution to life. The retirement village you both have in mind might be better suited than the family home and at a fraction of the price of the value of the family home. Keep the channels of communication open by acknowledging what’s important from your parents’ perspective.

Get expert help

Have your parents talk to their GP about what their needs might be in the future. GPs and specialists can recommend services and even specific providers that they have previously had great experiences with their other patients.

Maintain your parents’ dignity

Provided your parent is not experiencing symptoms of cognitive decline, they are capable of making their own decisions, even if you don’t agree with them. They may be resistant to the idea of moving out of the family home. While reluctance to have the conversation can be a difficult situation to navigate with your parents, it’s important that you can still inform while not imposing on their boundaries.

It might be that you can provide them a brochure or put them in touch with someone you know that has gone through this process. If such a move is not urgently needed, providing them the information to review and consider in their own time maintains their dignity through a challenging transition time.

Be gentle, be aware of your own need for emotional support, and accept it if they are not yet ready to broach the topic.