I have many acquaintances who are stressed either by having to make a major move themselves or to ‘persuade’ mum, dad, or both that it is time to give up their independence, seldom easy, often traumatic. In the last decade I have moved house twice, sold one, trying to sell another, nursed my husband through poor eyesight and Alzheimers till I had to admit defeat. I had the grief of his death, my son’s death – plus not seeing him because of Covid. Had family back-up, but Brexit, Covid, different countries, laws, language have perforce presented huge challenges. My family are quietly grateful that I made my own decision and acted on it before some crisis left them having to do the ‘dirty’ work, which can be when you have to cajole an aged P into a care home or equivalent. Is there an easy answer? No, but a practical one, only if generations have good relationships.
The answer is ‘Plan ahead’. Rocks in the path are: down-sizing, de-cluttering, willingness to discuss finance. Ability to tolerate, integrate with new people, accept advice, help, admit your weaknesses. Money, evidently, is a huge factor So many people will not let their families know their financial situation, or make a will, convinced their bank accounts will be broken into. Loads of people here have never touched a computer, their husbands regarded them as brainless, and they have to rely on their children to run their lives, tough on the kids. Now my life is among the very old (I count nearing 90 as pretty old). There are people, mostly women, in their 90’s – seen as ‘marvellous’. So, if you are lucky in your genes you can walk, hear and see. With my ‘social historian’ hat on I discover that many of these women have ‘used and abused’ their children, sticking like limpets, demanding help, visits, castigating them for lack of filial spirit. It would have done many of these people a lot of good if son/daughter had turned on Mum/Dad and said ‘You are perfectly capable, get on with it, we have our own lives’.
Money, cost and availability, sheltered housing, private nursing home, state care home. So many sad cases, one member of the family, for whatever reason has the major responsibility. As soon as money enters the equation ‘fond’ relatives flock, arguing the price asked for the house if down-sizing. Rows over choice of ‘home’, cost, region, snobbishness – won’t accept local state one (ours proved excellent for Mr B) others too expensive. We took our farm over from a childless widower, he moved into a bungalow locally, he had plenty of money, we installed a housekeeper. His fierce sister arrived, sacked the housekeeper, too expensive. We got him into a private home (he had started dementia). It was awful. Sister removed him, to another awful establishment far from friends. So, if possible, family conclave, look at options (having been provident financially) then act as a loving family to try to give Mum/Dad good last years. Utopian?