Possible Moves Move Me to Madness


Possible Moves Move Me to Madness

crab-apples-1043107_640My parents moved to an apartment in a retirement community in September because they simply could not live at home. Their house is split level with stairs separating each level. At that time, my mom, recovering from her five-week hospital stay and four-week rehab stay, could not manage steps. My dad, months out from his surgery to remove his bladder, kidney, ureter and prostate, was just recovering from skin cancer surgery on the top of his head. During my mom's hospitalization and rehab stay, my dad struggled at home, so much so that he moved into the assisted living facility in the same community as my mom.

The move to the retirement community was a good one. My dad was completely on board. My mom only agreed to stay in the apartment through the winter.

Since the move, my parents' health has improved. My mom now only uses a cane. My dad is back to taking regular walks. Living in the retirement community has been a big reason for their recovery.

I crossed my fingers they would see the value of living where they live.

In the middle of January, my dad started freaking out about the stock market. As I changed his ostomy bag, he would say, "We need to sell the house." My parents have enough money but I could not calm my dad's fears that they would soon be destitute. At the end of January, my mom called and without fanfare said, "We're moving home."


I remained calm and suggested we talk about it more the next day, when my mom and I would be enjoying massages (my Christmas gift to her). As we sat in a dimly light, calm room waiting for our massage therapists, I explained to my mom that my dad couldn't move home. "We didn't tell you everything that happened while you were recovering," I explained to my mom. "But it's too much for Dad to be at home."

My mom nodded, taking in my words. A few hours later, after lunch, I spoke with my parents about moving home. After our discussion, my mom agreed that moving home would not work. She did, however, want to look at condos. "I think it's good to look at choices," I agreed.

"We can take our time and just take one step at a time," my mom wisely said.

Once I returned home, I sent a triumphant text to my siblings (except for Sibing) who had freaked out as much as I did about our parents returning home. We celebrated with text messages peppered with cute emoticons only four people in their 50s could giggle about.

About 24 hours later, my dad sent me an email. "We're selling the house," he said. "We want to put it on the market on March 1."

So much for taking their time.

A few weeks later, my parents, who move slowly down a hallway but quickly with real estate transactions, have found a condo they like. My dad has the paperwork ready for a bridge loan, a house appraiser will stop by any day. My siblings (except for Sibling) and I will tour the condo my parents like tomorrow afternoon. They've not made an offer yet but have consulted the real estate agent about a good offer.

I am freaking out.

I want my parents to remain in the retirement community. I want to remain in the house, which is close to them. It's easy for me to run over and help and visit as often as they need and I want.

When they move and sell the house:

  • I have to move and will have to move a distance from them because I can't afford an apartment that's close to them;

  • They gain the "luxury" of a beautiful condo (my mom wants to live luxuriously before she dies) while losing independence. They have a driver at the ready at the retirement community who takes them to functions and activities. They take a van to church on Sunday mornings.

  • They exchange an easier lifestyle for a harder one. At the retirement community, they have two meals a day in the dining room. They don't shop for groceries, plan meals, cook meals or clean up after meals. In the condo, they will have to shop (or I will order for them through Peapod), cook and clean. They'll have to get a cleaning service because the retirement community provides one for them. They take on house maintenance again; in the retirement community, they just call the maintenance man.

  • They will move from a social lifestyle to an isolating one. My dad joined the resident council and men's group at the community. My mom found a bridge group. They attend activities, like concerts, parties (New Year's and Super Bow) and lectures. In a condo, their only source of entertainment will be the television and each other.

  • They'll have to hire help when they need help. Currently, they can have as much help as they want (for a price, of course) in the retirement community. Right now, when they need more help, it's a phone call away no matter the day or the time. In the condo, we can hire help but it's no longer as convenient to get more help during a crisis.

  • They'll have to call "911" if one of them falls. Right now, my dad calls the front desk who sends a certified nursing assistant to help. (My mom has fallen twice to date.)

  • When my 84-year-old father can no longer drive, they both become stranded in the condo unless I drive them or they rely on a taxi service.

  • When one dies, the other will be living in a condo that's almost like living on an island.

The inconvenience of moving them again, cleaning out a house and moving myself is not lost on me, either.

Since the condo debacle began, I find myself fighting this swell of anger that rises up when I talk to my mom. I am so mad that they want to upset the apple cart. I've got the apples organized, sitting so nicely next to each other, like a work of art. My parents have all they need where they are.

The hope is that tomorrow my siblings and I can provide enough rational thoughts to help them make a different decision -- the decision to simply stay put.

Right now, I am one crabby crab apple.

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oh geez now I better understand the unpacking issue. Difficult situation, prayers for your parents to choose the retirement community, for both of your sakes, hang in there, this must be so stressful for you.


Thank you all so much for your comments_mysql. I was sooo discouraged until your comments_mysql came through. Your words brought me comfort which led me back to hope. :)


OMG, Denise! I started breathing easier halfway through you post... and then the condo, oh no... I certainly hope by tomorrow, he will have changed his mind or you guys can persuade him. In the meantime, I'll be praying for you!

Lillie Fuller

Oh you crabby crab apple, I truly understand why you are sour. This would make me a nervous wreck. I am praying for guidance for you and your siblings, that you share the words that your parents will hear and understand and peace and \"understanding\" for your parents. I hope they see all the positives in where they are.