Moving Bud

Thursday in Moving Dad, I posted about moving my dad from his home of over forty years to assisted living.  These are my thought on doing the same for myself …

houseThere are days … after the very thing I need has been on the other floor of our two story Anaheim Hills home … and after I’ve been up and down the stairs 75 times … and my knees are groaning, Stop, already … that I know the day will come when we need to move to a one story house.  I usually acknowledge that at that time we will downsize, maybe even to a condo, that requires less care.  My practical side says, That’s life, but my heart aches at the thought.   Our Big House in the Hills has been our dream home, and giving it up will mean starting down a different road, and not one on which everything is better.  I know, I know, the road comes no matter what we do, but downsizing feels like the entrance ramp to this particular highway.  Down the road are a variety of compromises involving more care (needed) and less independence (not needed but desired).   I want to navigate the trip with mindfulness and grace but I also want to avoid the entrance ramp as long as possible.  And there is the potential difficulty.  What if I delay it so long that I am no longer the mindful old guy I am now?   Will I find myself in the same situation my dad was with others, probably my wife or my daughter, making decisions for me?  Will they listen to me when I say, as my dad did, I know you think this is best for me but I’m not sure I want it?  Will their choices for me turn out as good as our choices for Dad did?

We all like to think we’ll manage our own eldercare.  Some years ago, Muri and I purchased Long term Care Insurance which will contribute substantially to whatever care we need in our later years.  Yes, it is expensive and the money it costs could have been saved for our old age.  But would it have been?  Having Long term Care Insurance might free us … or more importantly, our daughter … from making decisions entirely on a financial basis.  As long as Muri and I get to make our own eldercare decisions, we have three lessons in our pockets.  Through his own elder crisis (which I described in Moving Dad) and his years in assisted living, my dad gave us a gift … the gift of seeing how assisted living could enhance, not limit, his life.   My father-in-law, who spent his last years in the Jewish Home for the Aged also gave us a gift … he moved there very reluctantly, but thrived when he embraced the lifestyle and became a helper for others.  And Muri’s Mom showed us how acceptance and grace can make the best of life in eldercare.   I owe it to them all to remember.  But will I?   And will time … and events … allow me to make my own decisions?

I’ll say this.  If Muri and I reach the point where one of us needs more care than the other can provide, I will move into assisted living in a New York minute.  Or anywhere else.  But if I don’t remember … or I’m too old to care to remember … I’d just ask those taking care of me to listen with a little more compassion than I listened to my Dad.  And if you can find it, read me this post.  Tell me, Bud, you wrote this.  See your picture at the top?  Push me gently and keep me by Muri’s side if you can.  If I’m a pain-in-the-ass, please let my words roll off you.  My Inner Curmudgeon has made his great escape.  Do what you think is best for me and know that I love you.

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2 Comments on “Moving Bud”

  1. cherperz Says:

    It is a conundrum isn’t it Bud? Knowing when is the time to start downsizing to the last home or maybe the last home prior to assisted living. We have looked for more than a year for a maintenance provided community with a first floor master. Also, the yard work takes so much time here that I am nearly to the point to no longer want to do it. (my kids keep insisting, that I would miss my flower gardens..that remains to be seen)

    Nothing looks as nice as my home or at least “to me”. Our home is a 2 story as well but here in our area there is also a lower living area so there are 2 flights of stairs to cover the 3 floors. I like to tell myself, it is great exercise running from the master bedroom on the top floor to the media room on the lower level. I may not be able to rationalize that 10 years from now.

    You bring up a important consideration… Keeping together with your spouse…I hope the day never comes that we have to live in separate housing. That is a major worry of mine. I would be fine for both of us to move to assisted living if one of us needs just minimal care. It’s the skilled nursing facilities that would potentially separate us. I have talked to our kids about this and trust they will try to keep us together.

  2. territerri Says:

    I’ve been thinking so much about my later years lately and I worry. I don’t want to be miserable and unhappy. And I don’t want to make others miserable and unhappy in the process. If that’s what is in store, I wish that my end will come early and be quick. But your parents and Muri’s are shining examples of how the road can be managed with grace, acceptance, and happiness. So while I try to figure out how to put all the details in place to spare my kids too much decision making, I’ll strive for welcoming my older years with an open heart and mind… if older years are what’s in store for me.

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