The average age of our collective NW friends is about fifty three. We’re largely the youngest folks in many of the circles we travel. Consequently, we’ve watched several friends go through the following scenario(s):
Aging mother and/or father:
Develops cancer and dies, leaving other spouse
Develops Alzheimer’s and can no longer care for self (and has to be moved out of state)
Can no longer care for self because of alcohol/drug problem
Develops Alzheimer’s and can no longer care for self (and doesn’t want to move)
Must move from the old farmstead to assisted care
My parents squared away their retirement plans by moving to WA with me. And now . . . now the inlaws are on the other side of the country, with both of their children on this coast . . . and both Michael and I have suggested they move west.
They are reticent to do that, of course. They’re well-established in their community, and in their house (on which they recently finished a remodel with which they are quite happy). They’re healthy, and they’re only in their early 60s, so the thought of up and moving when there’s no pressing reason to is . . . not all that pleasant.
My best argument for the move is to not have to do it later, when they can’t hear, or see, or drive (all things that have negatively impacted the octogenarian moves of the above parents who weren’t already otherwise negatively impacted).
I can see how people who’ve lived in the same house in the same town for the last 25 years would be disinclined toward picking up and moving across the country. (If for no other reason than the years of accumulated dust behind the deep freeze). And I agree with their individual sentiments that they’d like to have quick deaths while out doing something they enjoy (er–that was individually–not like a sky-diving death pact or some Thelma-and-Louise ride into the canyon).
But I think it would be really neat for them to be near their granddaughters . . . to watch them grow up, to be able to have a consistent and real presence in their lives.*
I told Michael we need to write a note to our future selves, to tell them that, when Farmergirl wants us to move closer, that we should. He said he would hate to have to follow his own good advice, and therefore doesn’t think a note to the future is a good idea. He scowled and said he’d hate to be right, and know his earlier self was right, and have to admit it. (Then he kind of chortled and snorted and grinned).
When I asked Farmergirl what she thought, she said she thought they ought to move west, because–and this surprised me– “I think they ought to be around for Brooke, like they were when I was her age.”
I think maybe they ought to come out for, say, 4 months . . . get a furnished apartment, and try the area out. Maybe try the same thing in California (where the aforementioned baby cousin lives), and see what they think actually being here (instead of just visiting). (Maybe even try it out during four of our nice sunny months).
* I don’t think Boomers, in general, think along these lines . . . I think most Boomers grew up with the idea that retirement would include trips to Europe and cruising around the Bahamas (which, for a lot of Boomers I know, retirement does include a healthy dose of travel) . . . most Gen Xers I know say “I could never live with my parents**” when they find out I do . . . and their parents by and large think likewise. (On that note, I am really happy to see the First Family is an extended family . . . I suspect we will return to that as a dominate family form).
** It’s okay–I could never live with your parents, either. 😛