July 30th, 2010 at 11:55 am
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All Things Considered in Eldercare

by Isabel Fawcett, SPHR

It was my best care decision bar none. Dad had been dead for several years. After Dad died, Mom was gainfully and happily employed for years. Working helped her transition to independence. Back then, I had no reason to be concerned about Mom’s health or well-being. We lived cross-country from each other.

When Mom shared that she had decided that it was time for her to retire, I congratulated her on her decision. Without skipping a beat, I invited her to consider relocating to where I lived. We didn’t have to live in the same house or even the same neighborhood or town, I told her. “All that matters is that you’re not half-country away and alone in your retirement years. If you ever need any type of assistive support, neither of us will have to worry about whether or not I can be there to support you.”

I’d known long-distance caregiving nightmares. Some long-distance caregivers were unable to travel to visit a chronically ill parent due to financial and/or employment reasons. If our family could avoid it, I didn’t want any such thing for my mother–or myself.

Mom was not convinced when she heard my offer. I invited her to vacation in my town as her first post-retirement trip and then decide. I’d respect her decision either way. I knew she’d fall in love with the city.

It just so happens that she did fall in love with the city. Had she not taken me up on my offer, I would have relocated to where she lived at that time without any heartburn. I was not about to join the ranks of long-distance caregivers who worry about their aging love ones, feeling like their hands are tied by the geographic distance and financial constraints. The rest was history in my carer’s journey. For years after her retirement relocation, Mom enjoyed herself, many volunteer activities, day trips, and, her generational contemporaries.

The best part always has been that I’ve been able to assist and support Mom on-again, off-again, temporarily, and part-time, as often as she has needed assistive care support in her golden years. My long-ago invitation to Mom will always be a fond memory in my caregiving journey. No regrets – just my choice.

Do you remember your first eldercare choice? How would you rate your first eldercare decision? Please don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself lots of credit for doing the best you knew how.

Posted in Caregiving, Financial | 1 Comment »
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One Response to “All Things Considered in Eldercare”

  1. Wayne Caswell

    If you really want to keep mom close and part of the family, you have many options. You can give her the spare bedroom, convert a garage into living space, remodel the home, or add a small cottage on your property. In my case, we used the sale of her condo to build onto my brother’s home, but if you have enough flat space on your lot, consider MEDCottage.

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