Where to put your elderly parent: your home or care home?

SONY DSCSome people call us saints. Some people call us crazy. The fact is, we are just doing what many families do—being there for each other.

I’ll be sixty in November. My husband started collecting Social Security last year. He decided to take it early, at sixty-two. Our eldest celebrated his 35th birthday this week—making me feel even older.

It’s been years since one of our two kids lived with us. Both are married and doing exceedingly well in their careers. Our daughter is a talented graphic designer and our son just received another promotion in management with the company he works for.

Unlike some people we know, who complain about their adult kids moving back home, or having to help raise their grandchildren, we haven’t had those problems. We’ve been blessed with self sufficient, hard working children.

This doesn’t mean Don and I can take off and enjoy our golden years. Did I mention our mothers live with us? Both of them. His and mine. The ladies are each 86 years old. Now you understand what I meant about saints and crazy.

After we moved into this house we added a sitting area to one of the bedrooms, where my mother resides. A couple of years ago we built a guest house on our property for my mother-in-law. Fortunately the ladies are relatively healthy and are capable of taking care of their personal needs, however they no longer drive.

While both ladies are for now self sufficient, the situation has significantly clipped our wings. Don and I long to sell the house and move closer to our kids, but we can’t see how to maneuver such a move without displacing the moms.

Last month Don ended up in the hospital with an infection in his artificial knee. The knee was not the culprit, just where the infection settled. After emergency surgery, Don had to undergo six weeks of in-home IV treatment, which I administered.

The medical ordeal was a wakeup call—reminding us how quickly the years are slipping by. We’ve been spending the last few weeks trying to figure out how to enjoy our years, while not abandoning our mothers.

One option is purchasing an RV—something that will enable Don and me to escape for weeks at a time, and then return to home base and check on the moms, before taking off again.

Let’s see if we can pull this off.

(Photo: MIL cottage under construction 2012)