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Which one of you keeps telling us to move to the retirement home?

Every Sunday morning, the kids and I meet my parents for breakfast. My parents want to see the grandkids and I want my kids to be able to spend time with my parents. Mornings are better than evenings to visit with them.  My dad usually asks what we’ve been up to the past week. Most times, when I return the question, they struggle to recall where they even ate dinner the night before.

This week, my mom wondered which one of us (I’m one of four) keeps telling them to move into the retirement community full-time. We all know that would be the safest place for them, but my brothers have been telling them repeatedly for the past few months while my sister and I sit in neutral positions. I almost feel like the more we tell them to do something, the less likely they are to do it.

When my mom poses the question, it’s rhetorical. She never waits for an answer and will start listing all the reasons they can’t move to the retirement community full-time. My dad will layer in some additional commentary supporting my mom’s points. It’s a list I know well. I used to engage and provide easy solutions to the problems, but most often it turned into a heated debate. I mentally pledged to myself to stop engaging in this discussion. I’m happy to share that I have not taken the bait in many months.

It’s an odd dance we play. Some days I realize I’m dancing with ghosts of my parents and other days, I get to dance with MY parents. My kids will never really get to know the parents I grew up with. My mom was fearless and gracious, while my dad was driven and playful. Some days a topic comes up and I will tell a story from my childhood and I know my kids get to see my parents as I did growing up. Pleased.

One comment on “Which one of you keeps telling us to move to the retirement home?

  1. My parents bought into a retirement community in their late 60’s vowing they would never be a burden to their children. They proclaimed they had everything totally covered. The problem was they both missed the point in their late 70’s to actually move into their (now 12+ years old) retirement condo/community before both had lost the mental capacity to understand this. Somewhere along the line they started treating their retirement flat more like a vacation spot visiting one or maybe two nights (at the most) per week.

    Now they are beyond the point of managing multiple properties, yet full of defensive reasons about it not being time to make the move. So, what they both promised would not happen, has happened with a vengeance. They are failing on may levels (mostly memory and reasoning ability), that they cannot function well day-to-day with their simple schedules. One or both of them together get lost driving familiar routes; they cannot reason thru bills and/or minor home projects, nor will they easily accept help. Mostly they argue with us on almost every point having to do with needing help and/or moving to their retirement community full time. They forget most every conversation as soon as the words leave our lips. it is quite tragic.

    It looks like we are going to have to take the cars and physically move them before somebody gets seriously lost again or hurt. We can no longer reason with our parents. We have been trying for over a year now. We have tried family intervention (w/all 4 siblings), going to Dr’s appointments, and scheduling psychologist appts, but they retain nothing, nor do they want to change. It looks like time for action.

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