Two older adults and a young adult (Photo: Thinkstock)

Advisors might want to keep an eye on family dynamics as they advise senior clients (or their grown offspring) on the issue of choosing a retirement community.

According to marketing firm Zion & Zion, parents and children don’t always agree on the essential elements that make one retirement community better than another, and whether the clients you’re advising are the seniors or their kids — termed Adult Child Influencers by Zion & Zion — you could find yourself in the middle of a meltdown.

Factors important to the seniors, who were 75 and older, weren’t always high on the priority list for their kids, and vice versa. Cost was a primary factor, with 61% citing it; then came security/safety (51%) and access to health care (46%). But cost was more important to seniors, at 64%, than to their children, at 58%; security and safety was less important, at 44%, compared with the kids at 57%; and the kids were far more concerned about access to health care, at 56%, than their parents, at 35%.

In addition, having businesses nearby was much more important to seniors (46%) than to their kids (38%), and seniors also wanted a good location and climate while their offspring were more concerned with onsite dining, online reviews, and wellness programs and amenities.

When advising clients, senior or junior, about the important factors in choosing a retirement community, bear in mind that all parties should be involved in the process so that adult children understand the importance of factors, including cost, that will make their parents satisfied with their choice. Conversely, parents need to understand their kids’ concerns lest they decide to oppose the move or press for a community that won’t bring their parents the contentment they seek. And too much conflict over what’s a dealbreaker could lead to parents deciding not to make the move at all.

Factors such as cost that weigh more heavily on one or the other generation can be resolved if everyone’s on the same page and seeking a solution — and both generations need to understand that some elements of senior living just aren’t negotiable if the arrangement is going to work.

— Check out 10 Top Luxury Retirement Communities on ThinkAdvisor.


Marlene Satter is a contributing writer to ThinkAdvisor.