I have arrived. I have aging parents. It hasn’t been too challenging yet, but the potential is there. My husband and I are very fortunate to have both of our parents. However, I suppose we complicated things by moving from the northeast to the southeast. It certainly doesn’t make things easier but on some level, aside from an immediate emergency, I am more available now then I was when I worked full time and lived in New York. I was stressed and tired of the lifestyle I was living. I love Long Island, it was an amazing place but it was time for a change. I needed a different life but that required a new state, so here we are one year later.
How can we make the aging process better for them and us? I suppose we need to be more than in-touch, we need to be listening for clues of what is happening and consider what is doable and what is not. It’s reality check time. Tough conversations need to happen. Wishes need to be stated so we know how to handle what lies ahead.
Yuck. This is not a fun topic. I remember when my grandmother lived on her own in Brooklyn and we were out on the “island”. My mom would go back and forth to Brooklyn every week. As my aging grandmother became more forgetful and it was unsafe for here to live alone, it was time to move her into a nursing home. That was a painful but necessary decision. I remember speaking with my mom discussing how it would have been great if she moved closer to us when her memory was still intact, but she did not want to leave her beloved Brooklyn. If she couldn’t be in Norway, then Brooklyn was the only place to be. She had friends, her church and she could walk to wherever she needed to go; the Danish bakery and the Norwegian delicatessen to name a few. It was all there.
Now here we are. They are in the north and I am here in the south. Perhaps I’m being selfish but I think I’m being realistic. I’d like them to move closer to me so I can care for them as they get older, something we wished my Grandmother had done when she was still relatively healthy. The weather is great down here, it’s more affordable than New York and they can still spend their summers in Norway. So maybe it’s time? But, how do you make this happen? There’s knee replacements and recovery. There’s a house of over 50 years filled with stuff. The timing never seems to be right. Where does one begin? It’s going to take some tough decisions, a bit of time and a ton of patience. Can it be done? Yes. Should it be done? That’s debatable. Hoping the decision to stay or go falls into place as if orchestrated from above.
Perhaps you have already been through this type of situation. Our stories might be different or similar, but it’s quite clear to me, we need to be realistic, willing and honest about how to deal with aging parents. It’s like anything else; the better the communication, the more one plans, the chances of a successful and hopefully gratifying outcome can exist. I’m sure hoping.