Moving an Aging Parent from Long-Distance – Part XVII


by Joy Loverde

Anything, yes ANYTHING can happen in the middle of a long-distance move including people getting sick and people not living through the relocation process. Early on in this “Moving an Aging Parent from Long-Distance” blog, I predicted that if Bill could find a way to sabotage the move, he was going to do it. This is exactly what is happening now.

Did Bill make a conscience decision not to eat, take his medications or bathe when Mom went to Chicago to buy furniture for the new apartment? In all these years when Mom came to visit us in Chicago, he functioned perfectly. Most of the time Mom’s visited lasted two to three weeks.  This time she is gone for less than five days and as far as I am concerned he’s acting out and protesting the move – his way. Do you have a reluctant parent in the move process? Is he or she up planning an escape of some kind? Are there clues that this might be taken place behind the scenes?  Pay close attention to the parent who does not want to move. He or she is probably up to something.

One of the clues regarding Bill’s negative disposition regarding the move was the constant arguing with Mom and telling her over and over again, “I’m not moving,” and “I haven’t made up my mind yet.” He picked fight every chance he could. I also watched him shun her when she asked him to start packing. He would argue more and simply ignore her requests. The clues are always there. Just how far people will go to get their way is not to be understated in the move process including getting sick.

So here’s Mom, back in Florida with a hospitalized husband. And the discharge planner is telling her to take him home now. Mom calls frantically, and I reassure her that we will find a place for Bill to rest and get better. I talk with the discharge planner over the phone and ask (plead) that to keep Bill one more night so I can hustle and get Bill a place to stay.  An assisted-living facility in the neighborhood has room available, and the next day Bill is on his way to Royal Palms.

By now, Mom is barely functioning and nothing less than exhausted. She has been by Bill’s side for most of the last 48 hours with very little sleep. She refuses to leave his side. Once Bill is settled in at Royal Palms, she returns home. It’s now 6 pm and been an incredible two-day crisis. My siblings and I are afraid that her heart will give out and we are extremely worried. I ask one of my sisters to hop on a plane as soon as possible. Linda packs her bags.

Mom calls and tells me Bill is tucked in for the night at Royal Palms. She’s in her nightgown and ready for bed. I breathe a sigh of relief. Mom can finally get a good night’s sleep, and my sister, Linda will be there soon for hands-on assistance.

Fifteen minutes, the phone rings.  Mom is hysterical and crying. She tells me Bill has been kicked out of Royal Palms. He is aggressive and violent, and the police are called. He is sent back to the hospital – restrained and drugged as away to calm him down.

This long-distance move continues to be a nightmare from hell.