Thinking about moving Mom to California has certainly been challenging. We knew once Mom was in Cali she wouldn’t be going back to her home [guilty]. Kinda sad really. So we had to prepare for her permanent stay and figure out how we were going to convince Mom that this was the way it had to be and the best move for her.
We looked into retirement living, assisted living (although we knew from Florida that this probably wasn’t an option), her own apartment, apartments next to each other (1 for her, 1 for us), even a house for all of us to share. We didn’t want her living too far from us because she doesn’t drive, and we didn’t want to spend all our time on the road back and forth, so it was difficult finding something that would work for all of us. My husband and I agreed that living in the same house with Mom was not going to work for us – we absolutely needed our own space.
After countless weeks of looking into our options, we finally found something we thought would work; but we went from our plan of buying a condo so we could have more “us time” to renting a triplex – I’m amazed that we actually found something that would work. The triplex is a 2 bedroom front house, 1 bedroom attached house and a studio apartment above the garage. The front house is the largest and has been recently updated – although old, it’s really quite charming and has all the conveniences one needs (like a refrigerator that beeps when the door is left open – which turns out to be a great feature for Mom).
This honestly works out well for Mom since she will live in the front house and will have the largest space for living. Although she is moving to a much smaller space, it definitely would not be as small as assisted living where you basically get a room.
Our son will live in the apartment above the garage so that will work out great for him.
My husband and I will live in the 1 bedroom attached house, going from a 1200 square foot condo to 700 square feet of living space. It was going to be an adjustment but we are more used to smaller living quarters than Mom and this was our best (maybe only) option for our situation.
Hey, less cleaning, right?
What I Learned: Only make sacrifices that you can live with – and don’t take them lightly.
So I talked with my siblings and my brother said he could arrange a senior living facility near him and his wife, but that would mean moving Mom to Canada. Mom is not opposed to that option, but again, she would be in a senior living situation and also a bit of a distance from where my brother lives. Part of me was thinking, great! – it would mean that my life would stay as it was [guilty], but the compassionate side of me was thinking that Mom would probably not adapt to the weather very well, and how often would she really be around family?
My sister was more than willing to have Mom close to her (which is in Canada as well) but also live in a senior living facility. Mom has plenty of family there to visit her on a regular basis but she just doesn’t want to live in that part of Canada.
Although having Mom live close to one of my siblings would have alleviated a lot of stress from my life [guilty], Mom doesn’t have the greatest history with either of them – I’m not so sure that would work out very well.
The next few months were certainly interesting. My husband and I focused all our attention on getting Mom to a safer environment where she’d have more interaction with people and be close to family. We decided that California was going to be the best option – now how do we convince Mom?
It was definitely going to be a challenge.
What I Learned: Don’t make rash decisions; think of all the options and keep Mom’s best interest in mind.
What were our options? We know Mom doesn’t want to leave Florida, so maybe we could have someone stay with her on a regular basis, either live in or live out. No, Mom would never go for that – she’s too quirky about her space and has never really enjoyed being with people. And how much would that cost? I know Dad has provided well for Mom and her finances are in great shape, but will they stay in great shape spending that kind of money – it’s got to be expensive.
How about move her to a senior living facility? There’s one right around the corner from her house, maybe we could convince her it’s the right thing. She’ll still have her independence but will have all the advantages of transportation, 24 hour security, activities (although she’d never participate), and the choice of eating in her apartment or joining others in a dining room – Mom does love to eat! Maybe the first step is to see if she’ll come out to California for a visit, stay near us for a month or so and maybe she’ll realize how important it is to be around family. WOW, that’s going to take some convincing.
Let’s get started!
What I Learned : Do a lot of soul searching and try to figure out what’s best for Mom.