It’ll Be Okay, Mom – Fingers Crossed

It’s a different sort of summer. For months (years) we’ve been encouraging (harassing) my parents to change their living situation. I sugar coat all the words to make the struggle easier. And I can’t stop myself from thinking about myself and my husband, and our same age peers – what living situation will we choose in our ‘golden years’?

Without doubt we will all want to stay in the houses that we’ve renovated and refitted with carefully chosen granite and then more fashionable quartz , where we’ve taken down walls making great rooms as great rooms became the fashion. But when the time comes, as it has for my mom and dad, when that big yard, the staircases, even the meal preparation and bringing in food, has just become too much – where will we land?

It’s taken a while for my four siblings and I to all be on the same page agreeing that, as proud as we may be that these people that raised us have managed to keep their own household going for all these years, (65 years in fact) but now it’s time for them to have an easier life. My dad has various health issues now and simply put – they need a supported living situation.

I could write a book on the journey involved in searching out the right – what I call – ‘retirement residence’. I call it that because it sounds nice and (fingers crossed) hopefully it will be. My parents will have their own apartment- we are not talking about a nursing home or the dreaded ‘long-term care facility’ that one might need some day. They’ll have a bedroom, living room ‘kitchen area’ and the oversized bathroom these places feature.

It was that tiny kitchen that we all wished was something more. They’ll have room to bring the dining room table we’ve told our stories around, but there are just a very few cupboards. Where to put the platter that’s held the turkey for decades of Christmas’s , or the collection of vases from years of bouquets, what about the big bowl for popcorn with a movie on tv, or the big lemonade pitcher for drinks when family arrive with thirsty little ones?

Because of that tiny kitchen ‘spot’ we took my mom and dad to view a higher end retirement residence this week. No question that it was attractive and, despite it not being necessary – with three meals provided in the first floor dining room- it featured an actual kitchen, complete with full fridge and dishwasher. This brand new building, with residents moving in for the very first time was lovely, but when we returned to the place more comfortably within their budget we saw folks already friendly with each other chatting on a Sunday afternoon outside, and in the dining room an elderly woman was playing the piano loudly and with spirit, for whoever cared to listen.

We went up to take measurements to see if perhaps the china cabinet might fit, to hold special treasures and more practical items (it will) and I stared down the mini fridge.

I know my parents will only need to keep a quart of milk, or a few refreshments for when they don’t want to walk down the hall to the ‘bistro room’ that is always open, but it is the idea, that after a lifetime of taking care of themselves they don’t need their own butter or mayonnaise or a dozen eggs, that is bothering me.

That will be okay, mom, I think. We’ll go out to shop for what makes you happy in that puny fridge. In the next few weeks we’ll get busy choosing how to make this home. We’re putting our trust in the good we see here – the supportive kind staff we’ve met, the opportunities to socialize with your peers around new tables, and that wonderful woman playing the piano.


……To read about another sort of leaving home click here for My book Text Me, Love Mom on Amazon

10 thoughts on “It’ll Be Okay, Mom – Fingers Crossed

  1. Been there! My Mother actually picked the assisted living place she wanted and onto the waiting list went her name. A one bedroom turned up, she could have had a studio, but she wanted to move so she did. We downsized her and down sized her. She had 5 happy great years there. She loved it. Then dementia started at age 90 and we moved her to the dementia floor where she was happy for another year until the rabbit hole of dementia was too much and she had to move across the street to the nursing home.

  2. I wish all of you well in this next phase of all of your lives. I moved my mother to a beautiful facility like this, with friendly people and a tiny fridge. Lots of adjustments for all of you. Brenda

    • Hi Brenda – it’s been a wild ride getting the folks set up and (not quite) happy in this new wonderful facility. My two remarkable parents encouraged me to write and express myself. I owe so much to them, but I hate to say that at 88 and 90 I often feel that I’m dealing with two cranky teenagers. (Thank God they’ll never find their way to the comments here.) I admire and get a kick out of 1010parkplace. You inspire me. Hoping you will continue to find your way to my blog at http://www.textmelovemom.com

  3. Thanks for this Candace! My parents are 90 and 95 and just starting now to contemplate this move. Your words put a very fine point on some of the issues—particularly “after all these years—not needing your own mayonnaise or eggs”. My mother has always been a fabulous cook. For her, giving up meal preparation is like giving up her passion. But as you say it is becoming too much—particularly in the winter. And yes where does the turkey platter and the popcorn bowl go?
    Just small indices of the magnitude of giving up a life of self-sufficiency. As you say, there is always the woman playing the piano and for my Dad, he hopes to be the man playing the organ.
    Thanks again for sharing your experience!

  4. It is a difficult time for sure, Candace! A period of adjustment for all and a time for new beginnings!
    So many emotions and memories; I remember well doing this for our parents a few years back!
    Your parents are fortunate to have you and a loving family to help with the transition; not everyone has that!
    Stay strong! Look forward to seeing you soon!
    Namaste…………Debbie XOXO

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