By Pawnee Annie
It’s not as common today for grown, adult children to “take in” their parents as they age. The decision of which sibling would care for “mom or dad” was once an indisputable fact. It used to be an accepted life “transition.”
When I was a child, 60 years ago, it was common to see an aged parent living with his or her children. When the time came for a life change, aged ones didn’t go to a nursing home or a “retirement” home. Families stayed together, and adult kids took this responsibility seriously. That was just the way it was.
Children learned not to go into “granny’s” bedroom or sit on her “made” bed, and they learned to respect her in many ways. Grandma or grandpa took part in helping out where each could.
Today, the roles of the adult child are different.
It’s common for aged parents to live in a facility or a “retirement” community of some kind. They are separated from the family and the stimulation of different ages living together. Medical problems, ill health, and decreasing mental acuity with a longer life span feed into the type of care they experience today.
Seldom do aged singles live with the children.
It’s a sad state of affairs, really.
It has occurred to me that “some day” Fred or I will need the care and attention of our children. I have wondered which of our three children would best be suited to watch over Fred and me. I thought about it.
The summation of those thoughts is this: “EEEEEEEEEEK!”
Certainly, if I am well, it wouldn’t be my choice to live with any of them. Fred probably feels even more adamant about that choice.
I have learned through trial and error that a visit to son and family in California works the best if it lasts for about three days. IN FACT, even though they have begged us to come, and WANT us to come, son has already set the parameters. He has already suggested how long a visit should be!
Uh huh! Now, I know that I won’t live with them. Maybe close to them ... But not WITH them!
I have tested the waters again. This time, I am planning to drive to see “other” son for what amounts to two nights out. “Other” son wants me to come. We always have fun! Fred is busy and will not be able to accompany me. Therefore, I don’t think I want to stay in a hotel. It’s needless expense.
I have a grand idea! The apartment is small, but I can stay with him can’t I?
After all, Fred and I changed his diapers, fed him, housed him, bought him his first car, paid for his braces, drove him to guitar lessons, watched his ball games, stored his keepsakes, fed his friends, spent sleepless nights waiting for him to come home and lock the back door, let him keep umpteen pets, (snake, dog, lizard, hamsters, cat, parrot) paid college tuition, and tons of other “little” contributions.
He owes me.
I decided to send him a text suggesting I stay with him in his little apartment ... I also asked if he had a “blow-up” mattress.
I earned this privilege, right?
And, besides, this kid is one of our options for “care giving” in our frail years, right?
The answer came back.
“Gosh, don’t you think you want to stay at the hotel where you can get away and read and have your own time?”( e.g. convalescent home) he answered. “Otherwise, we will be in close proximity for two days straight. I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not.”
Oh hilarious! I couldn’t help but laugh.
Then I reminded him that I would be shopping without him. We wouldn’t get under each other’s feet.
He then answered. “Oh yeah. I hadn’t thought about the $185 for the two nights in the hotel. So yes, it’s OK It will be a bit weird, but I’m sure we will be fine.”
I then told him to definitely plan on my staying there. Some day when I am dead and gone, he will be glad he let me stay with him.
In the meantime, this one may be an option as “chief caregiver” in the days ahead.
The decision is still hanging.
“Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother.