Aliska - posted on 07/01/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )
My parents are in their 80s and live about 2.5 to 3 hours drive away from us. I am their only child. My family is the only close family they have. They live in a small country town. I can see that they are not coping so well on their own but don’t know what to do about it.
My father never considers anyone’s opinion, preferences etc but his own and is adamant that he won’t move. He wants to die there. The small town has a nursing home which he says he’ll go to if he needs to. He refuses to acknowledge that there are many steps between living independently and requiring nursing home care. My mother would love to move closer to us but can’t if my father won’t agree.
My mother was never the world’s fussiest housekeeper but over the last few years she’s gotten worse and worse. My dad is traditional and doesn’t think he has to do housework. The floors are filthy, plates dirty even though she’s ‘washed up’ etc. It’s hard to tell how much is deliberate, her protest at having to live somewhere she doesn’t want to and how much she just doesn’t notice.
They are also getting more stuck in their ways, grumpy etc which I know is normal for their age but this coupled with the state of the house means that none of us look forward to visiting them. Now the kids are older there is no excitement about going to the country and they hate the state of the house and the pettiness/grumpiness of their grandparents.
We would like them to move closer to us. We could then support them to stay living independently as long as possible by helping with shopping, maintenance etc. They would see more of all of us and the kids could pop in and out for short visits which suits their lifestyle better. When the kids were younger they would often go up for a week’s visit in the school holidays but they don’t want to do this anymore as they don’t see their friends, don’t have internet up there and also school-work and part-time work means that they are tied to the city where we live.
My mum would be so much happier in the city near us and I suspect a lot less grumpy and a little more motivated with housework etc as she would be happier in herself. My dad will not consider a move but refuses to acknowledge the problems of living so far away without family support. Conversely he would be happy if we moved to be closer to them which isn’t an option as we love our house, the kids are settled in school and I have a very good job. We would like them near us but don’t have the room or the patience to have them live with us and I don’t think they would want that either.
What are others’ experiences with the challenges of older parents? Any ideas, stories would be welcome!