by Joy Loverde
It’s been almost one year since I last wrote about my Aunt’s refusal to move out of her house (Moving a Reluctant Parent - Part 12). A year of inching her towards the goal of relocating. A year of working alongside my cousins and calming them down. A year of doing my best to side-track household emergencies. A year of waiting for the ball to drop.
Today I am happy to report, that all of this hard work is finally paying off and is the reason why I say -- over and over and over again – that it is FAR better to preserve the relationship than it is to plow through the process of getting my way on my terms.
Once a family relationship is damaged you will be hard-pressed to get it back on track. Depression can set it – for you and your elder -- among other mental and physical maladies. Plus, the clock is ticking. Family members will not be with us forever. If you insist on having it your way, how will you feel if they die before you have a chance to repair the damage?
The reason why her relocation process is moving quickly now is because the trust level between me and my Aunt is on solid ground. Every on-site visit and every phone call with my Aunt is now an opportunity for her to disclose her deepest fears and regrets. She is completely vulnerable, and she knows it. She willingly admits to the need to move out of the home she loves. She appears to be ready to move on.
For the past year I stuck with her through all kinds of emergencies: the flat tire she got on the highway and her son did not come to her rescue; the diagnosis of cancer (now in remission); the dwindling of her funds because a financial advisor steered her wrong, and much more. It has been one thing after another and each time I was there to clean up her messes.
Stay tuned. Something tells me I am not through dealing with more eldercare surprises.