Having a bit of a glum time with this. Mum stuck between the fear of leaving her home town and the fear of feeling vulnerable by being two hours (minimum) away from me. I’ve got no siblings, and she’s in her 70s but with increasingly bad mobility and neuropathy problems. We also have a family history of dementia so we’re on what feels like a ticking clock to make decisions before that gets a shit ton harder.
It’s the pits. She simultaneously is fretting, understandably, about being too far away from us if something goes wrong, but also has major anxiety about moving away from the town which she’s been in for 35 years.
And there’s no easy answer. There are certainly selfish ones on my part, which i’m ignoring, with an attempt to make sure that i help her understand all the options (which frankly i feel lucky that she has at all) but don’t lead her with bias.
So…, yeah. Wondered if anyone else has gone through this. It’s fucking horrible and I feel like I’m broken-hearted daily after another phone call or coffee with her.
Parents getting older really sucks and is very stressful.
I’m living at home with my mum because she wouldn’t cope well in a home with her anxiety disorder and everything else. Does sometimes feel like I’m sacrificing a potential future for myself but that’s ok I was never going to do anything anyway so it’s lucky it worked out this way for my family. Appreciate that’s not an option for everyone though.
Hope you find a solution that works for all of you, I’m sure you are doing your best and she knows she is loved which is very important. All the best x
no particular input here, beyond also starting to feel the only child pressure about this stuff. I’ve never moved that far away from home and really got an urge to finally do so, but feel like just as I do that it’ll be a time when I might want to be a lot closer to my dad and makes me wish I’d moved earlier, but then i know loads of people just make decisions for their own lives without considering how well their parents will be in 5 years, so then I think why can’t I just do that and and
dad is an only child too so not like there’s support there, and mums siblings are all very down south/abroad
yes. close family wise, there’s no one within range at this point. effectively everyone is two hours away minimum from mum. which i think is part of this feeling of vulnerability for her. and part of her potentially moving near me, of course, rapidly changes the landscape of the next two or so decades of my life. because yes, i could then move away somewhere else later on. but could i? not sure i could.
Have you or you mum spoken to the local council about their provisions for care or adaptations at all? My mum was an occupational therapist/social worker and much of her job was helping people to live as independently as they could, within a series of support networks.
There may be any number of combinations of reasons why your mum is anxious. For some it’s the upheaval of moving house, for others it’s the sentimental attachments to the house or its belongings (assuming it will involve an element of downsizing), and for others it’s breaking the links they have with friends, networks, and localities within walking distance.
At some point your mum may have to move out to somewhere else, but there may be other ways in which she can keep living in her existing community for longer.
I would say though, that if the long term plan is for her to move, then it is better to do this when she still has mobility and before any dementia starts to have an impact. It’s much easier to adapt to new surroundings when you’re still able to get about and make new connections.
and seeing how involved my dad was when his mum was aging makes me think the same as you just said, that that’ll be the shape of my life for the next … while, once it starts. And I barely feel I’ve started to live or grow up myself yet! I need a good decade of fixing myself before I can start to think about anything more
yeah. strong parallels. granddad’s dementia saw mum taking phone calls from him daily. he was a stone’s through away and after he fully lost himself, he was expecting constant visits and being truly awful if told no. and i think well, the odds of that happening with mum are low. but that’s guessing, and wishful thinking.
I think this is a fairly significant thing for people of our parents’ generation who moved to places with minimal public transport because they supposedly had good schools. It’s the same with the town in which I grew up, and in which my parents, and the parents of all my school friends, still live. Without their cars, they’d really struggle, and it’s not a particularly small town either, it’s just that 60 years of car-centric policies means that so many services and shops are only accessible via a car.
In many ways, I think growing old in a city is a much less isolating experience than doing so in a suburb or commuter town.
that’s what i’ve been gently suggesting. if she can grab a taxi to an accessible museum/theatre, then taxi home for a groceries delivery, all using apps, she’s going to find life infinitely easier than in her town where it’ll be scarce minicab to places not well built for those who struggle with mobility.
i have already rigged her whole house so that she can just say ‘call an ambulance’ if she’s hurt or falls, so she’s weirdly already fully onboard with tech and its benefits, and that’s at least helping her lean towards london.
I can imagine we’re going to be in that situation at some stage in the future with Mrs CCB’s parents. They’re both in their late 70s and live in Devon, in a house with a steep driveway and steps to the front door. At present, the main health issues are around her dad’s mobility. They are quite anxious about everything and I think they’re sort-of paralysed by indecision. We’ve offered for them to live locally but it’s all a bit political - Mrs CCB’s sisters live in Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Australia so there’s no good ‘middle ground’ (the Arabian Sea is not an option). Plus their house needs a fair bit of work before going on the market.
If we ever manage to sell our house, we’re going to try to buy somewhere with enough room downstairs for them to stay with us more easily.
Sounds like a tough time though. (Did you want this moved to the SSP sub-board, by the way?)
After my dad died in 2016 my mum continued to live in the flat they had been living for 25 odd years. After a while it became clear that this wasn’t a sustainable long term solution, especially with my brother and I both living abroad and my sister a two hour drive away.
It took 18 months of very gentle nudging to convince my mum to move to an assisted living place in the nearest village to my sister’s. Despite a very rocky road and numerous almost cancellations, she moved in March and now absolutely loves it. And it’s much easier for my sister, who now lives a 10 min bike ride away.
In a way the pandemic helped to force the decision, as a lot of her usual social activities weren’t happening last year, That took a lot of arguments away about her not being able to see her friends regularly and highlighted the increased dependency on my sister and her husband.
My partner’s 79 year old mother lives in, what would generally be considered, a pretty horrible bit of south London and we did think after her husband died she might move to be near her sister who lives in a Kent village. She did move but stayed in the same location and we are really glad because it is ideal - she can walk to all the shops and her gp, she has local parks and neighbours she knows who keep an eye for her. It really is a good place for an older person to live.
Obviously I don’t know if it works for your mum, but the initial conversations were like “you don’t need this yet, but what in 5 of 10 years time, if your health might deteriorate a bit?”, picking a time horizon that seems light years away. The next stage was “why don’t we have a look and see what these places are like” without any pressure to make a decision, even though the place she visited was the place we wanted her to go to. Etc, etc.
Keep an eye on the ultimate goal without stressing too much over the timescale.
90% relate to this (not an only child tho). my parents aren’t that old but my dad does no exercise and eats shit and refuses to get health checks so I suspect in the not too distant future we’ll get a nasty surprise about his health… but I don’t want to live in Kent forever… its why I want to meet someone who is the cause of me moving, so I have a good reason for doing it and I’m not just abandoning my family (and getting shit from my brother who lives around the corner from parents)