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Thursday, August 20, 2009

You Will Get Old

Retiring 1100 miles away from your children is not a rational decision in my opinion. At some point, everyone gets old and debilitated.

My in-laws are 92 and 88. They moved to Florida more than twenty years ago when they could dance the polka all afternoon and then go home and still have enough energy to keep the inside and the outside of their two bedroom ranch spotless. My father-in-law is now legally blind, deaf, has some dementia and a hard time putting one foot in front of the other.

My mother-in-law, saddled with the care of her husband as well as the cooking, cleaning, laundering, shopping, and bill paying is overwhelmed. A call from New Jersey to the Adult Protective Services resulted in getting my in-laws some help. The Cares organization has people who will shop for Mom, help with cleaning, cooking and finances.

Getting my in-laws some assistance has been a blessing, but when Mom is at her wit’s end and doesn’t know what to do we feel helpless.

Our latest visit to Florida was distressing. We wound up taking Dad to the ER.

Yet, my mother-in-law insists she can handle things—she’s a small woman, my father-in-law weighs more than 170 pounds and towers over her. They refuse to move back north. They’ve paid for their funeral and have a mausoleum space reserved.

Hubby asked the APS caseworker for the names of some nearby assisted living places. We checked out several and found one we liked. A few days later, we took Mom and Dad there for lunch.

Dad ate every last crumb of the lunch. Mom ran into an old friend from the Polish club who now lives there. They chatted away in Polish and I breathed a great sigh of relief. So far, so good.

While the visit to the assisted living facility was favorable, there are still plenty of details to iron out.

We had to get back to life in NJ and will try to manage things by phone from 1100 miles away—which we know doesn’t always work.

I felt terrible when we left. Dad solemnly bid me to pass on his regards to our daughters and my father. I got choked up when I gave Mom a hug.

I wish they didn’t live so far away.

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