Moving an Aging Parent from Long-Distance – Part XIII


I wonder how Mom and Bill will take the news that the buyer of the house has backed out of the deal. All along I have felt that everything going perfectly up until this point was unreal. Now I know why. Life is not clean and simple. Things always happen – for better or for worse – unexpectedly. The more I acknowledge this truth in the eldercare and caregiving process, the better prepared I am for change and emergencies.

So here’s the plan. While Mom is still in Chicago, Sharon the real estate agent will visit Bill in person at home and deliver the bad news. After that, they will call Mom together and let her know about the buyer backing out.

The phone call turns out to be one of those gut-wrenching eldercare experiences. Bill is crying on the phone; then Mom starts crying. Sharon is attempting to console Bill and we are doing the same with Mom on our end. This situation is beyond sad to witness.  I keep reminding myself to stay in the present and console Mom rather than get extremely angry at the guy who backed out of the deal. Staying present to what is real rather than letting my emotions get to me is a tactic I use that it allows me to focus on my next plan of action.

Sharon lets me know that she is not concerned about putting the house back on the market and reselling it in a short amount of time however, that will require quick action on her part. New house sale papers need to be redrawn and signed by both Alba and Bill, since they are co-owners. Sharon kicks into gear.

In the meantime, little do we know the impact this situation is having on Bill. And bomb number two drops immediately. The phone rings and it’s Mary the next door neighbor. She tells me Bill was found wondering outside and he’s looking for Alba (my Mom). Mary takes Bill into her home knowing that Mom is still in Chicago and calls me immediately. I’ve said this a thousand times before. Get to know your parents’ neighbors. Establish contact and a network of support early on – no matter if your parents are healthy and young. Neighbors are key players in your eldercare process.

Mary happens to be an RN and quickly assesses Bill -- mentally and physically. She tells me that Bill has no concept of time. He is nervous, confused, smells badly, and confided to her that he has fallen numerous times in the past week while Mom has been in Chicago. Mary wants permission to call 911. I say yes and hang up so she can make the call immediately.

And while all of this is going on, Mom is sitting at the airport waiting to board a plane back to Florida and is totally unaware of what is happening with Bill.