Rebuilt Garden Bed
One rebuilt garden bed with new mulch!

I’ve been at dad’s home for six weeks now, helping to rebuild mom’s flower beds and helping dad to downsize the house. My husband arrived last week to help keep dad company, because much of my time is taken up with gardening, with rooting around in the attic, and at work — I work from whatever “home” I happen to be in at any given moment as a writer.

Now it’s time to head back to my own home, and I’m taking some time to battle my fears about leaving dad alone. The best way to overcome my fears is to write about them, so here I go…

  • Dad is 84, but he’s out fishing this morning. He’s mobile, but he’s learning that he has new physical limits that he may not overcome. Simple things, like walking uphill. Fortunately, his house is all on one level, so he can get around at home as long as he doesn’t lose his balance. He tends to lose his balance when he’s tired. I can only hope that he’ll go to bed when he’s tired instead of pushing himself too hard.
  • Unfortunately, dad wanted to eliminate the family cell phone. He’s not tech-savvy, and that phone drove him nuts. Now, I have to find a solution for him to use if he’s out and about and something happens to the car (he still drives very well).
  • I also want to find a solution for him to use at home if he falls or hurts himself and can’t get to the land line. That’s a worry that can be eliminated with the right solution. Any suggestions?[contextly_sidebar id=”KrDOLSIygaggDKlDJ5Er2ajmyEqhyPYO”]
  • Dad has trouble with short-term memory loss, thanks to a severe heart attack he had at age 60. But, he’s learned how to keep lists to remember what he needs. No need to worry here.
  • Dad’s defibrillator hasn’t acted up since December 2012. The medications he’s taking now are working for him. He always writes his appointments down on the calendar and never misses them. No need to worry about this issue.
  • Dad’s bladder cancer remains in remission, and his next appointment is in three months. The only issue to worry about here is infection, but dad knows what to do about that — he never hesitates to call the doc when he’s bothered by infections. And, he seems to handle the antibiotics well so far.
  • Dad likes his alone time, so I’m happy that we’ll provide him with this luxury. Plus, we plan to return for two weeks over the holidays. That plan gives dad six weeks alone, which is a goodly amount of time to see how he does on his own. We’re only an eight-hour drive away, so we can return if he needs us.

I usually worry more before I leave and as I’m leaving. Once we get down the road a ways, my fears tend to fade. I think distance can help ease my fears, because those miles tend to mitigate the issues. For the moment, I want to be grateful that dad can be alone for a few weeks. I’m sure that this “alone time” will come to an end soon enough for us both. Mom’s death was hard on dad, but I can’t worry about the future. Today is all we have.

About Linda

Currently I'm writing a memoir about caregiving my mother with a focus on my late husband and how this caregiving affected our marriage. I am also an artist and I have changed my learning lately to more healthful endeavors in an effort to take care of me.


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Please notify me:

I”m sure that will be a hard departure. I’m wondering if your dad has a friend or neighbor that would “check in” on him daily and if he would be agreeable to let someone do that. Maybe if you told him it was only for your peace of mind… It could even be a signal system of sorts. I don’t know. Just a thought. I know when I left my mother after dad had died, (I had moved in for a few months when dad was battling cancer) I was so grateful that my other siblings were so close and… Read more »


What about something like Life Alert? I haven’t gotten one yet for my mother but it is on my to-do-eventually list. I don’t know what the different options are, and I don’t know if that works outside the house. I’m a worrier too – I can relate to your feelings!

Cathy Mitchell
Cathy Mitchell

Hello there. One of the problems with “life alert” is that the caree has to be onboard with it. I’m quite sure that with my aunt she would not want it and would forget it was there. However, it does sound like there is a lot of people that can be support to your father. As long as they know how to contact you, it sounds like you have left him in a very good situation.

Best wishes,


We chose Bay Alarm Medical for my mom. Please contact me if you want more specifics. It comes with a pendant you can wear on the wrist or around the neck and then the big red button on the box. My mom was never into the pendant, and now can’t use the phone at all. So we have talked about it and hopefully if she needs it (because something has happened to me and I can’t help her) she will remember to hit the Big Red Button. That’s about as simple as it gets.


Elly has the Life Alert system that she has access to. Her son is the one who was able to convince her so that he didn’t worry about her as much when we were at work. The buttons can withstand going through the washing machine and dryer and will be replaced for free if they stop working for any reason. Elly got really upset once when she realized they had gone through the wash and insisted they be replaced. I am not sure if she still carries around the pendant nor if she would remember if she falls but it… Read more »