Wednesday, August 31, 2016


My grandparents are getting up there in age. Grandpa's 87 and Grandma's 83. It seems like yesterday my brother and I were spending weeks with them in the summer going fishing and swimming while my parents got a break from parenting. Then they retired and moved down to Florida and we would get to visit them for a couple weeks in the spring and the fall when they drove their RV up to the farm on their way to far flung places. Finally they decided they weren't up for that anymore and sold their RV so in order to see them, we've been making annual pilgrimages down to Florida where we have met them along the panhandle coast for one week a year. However the last two years, they have been last minute no shows due to health issues so it has been awhile since my last visit with them.

We've been politely suggesting to them that perhaps it is time to think about moving back to Iowa so they can be close to family to help them out. I think my Grandma is open to it but thus far Grandpa has just refused. I can't blame him really because for the last couple decades, Florida has been their home and they had friends there. However, those friends have mostly passed away and Grandpa is getting closer to the point where Grandma won't be able to take care of him. Still, Grandpa has not been willing to discuss moving yet and Grandma, who grew up in a different era, is reluctant to put her foot down.

At least until recently. They have requested information on some retirement communities in the town where I live which is really the closest available to my mom, their daughter. They are looking for someplace where they can live independently in an apartment and then transition to assisted living, a nursing home and then the final transition to the next life. Fortunately, we have two such places here in town and I went to check them out and get information on both.

I'm pretty certain that 'they' actually means just Grandma and that Grandpa has no idea yet that she is even looking into such places. I've been imagining Grandma sticking a brochure into the book Grandpa is reading just like Ralphie slipped the ad for a Red Rider BB-gun into one of his mom's magazines in the movie A Christmas Story. Although she would never do such a thing, she should wop Grandpa up side the head with the brochures and tell him to choose or she is going to choose for him. It would be really nice to be able to stop by in the evenings to visit with my grandparents instead of the two and a half years it has been since the last few days I spent with them. Although my wife might disagree, I didn't inherit my Grandfather's or mother's stubbornness gene and I'm not going to hold my breath just yet.


Vince said...

It could be that he remembers the cold and the long winters in Iowa.

Kelly said...

Vince has a valid point. I think I can see both sides of this. I've been in the same house for almost 30 years and the thought of picking up and moving just wears me out. They might feel the same way about getting uprooted again. Still... the idea of the transitional living arrangements is really nice. We have several nursing homes, but only one with an assisted living facility associated with it.

I can understand from yours and your mother's viewpoint that it would be nice to all be close again. Especially now.

Bob said...

My in-laws, 88 (FIL) and 87 (MIL), sold their home where they had lived 50-plus years and moved into a retirement community in January of this year. They live in Little Rock, 5.5 hours away from us. They have their own place with their furniture and belongings, and they can live as independently as they choose. They still have one car and a golf cart. They can eat in a nearby community dining room or at home. It gives us much peace of mind to know there is help nearby if they need it, and they have ended up being quite happy there. We have discussed their moving closer to us but I know they're much happier where they are. Hope your grandparents are able to come to a joint decision that's best for them.

sage said...

If they were interested in Savannah, I could recommend several such places! It does become a problem as grandparents/parents age as to where they will be and who can help look out for them. Good luck.

Ed said...

I should have elaborated but a good deal of why we think they should move back is because my grandfather's health is such that my grandmother is having a hard time taking care of him by herself. He is literally just one health crisis away from a nursing home at which point he won't have a choice in the matter. Unfortunately he is too stubborn to see the toll he is placing on my grandmother having to wait on him hand and foot 24 hours a day.

They don't necessarily have to move back here but it seems logical since all their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren live in Iowa and as Grandma puts it, they have lived long enough to see all their friends die. All the people in their retirement community that they now live in are all young-un's to my grandparents and interested in different things. At the end of the day, I would just be happy if my grandmother was happy and right now she is downright miserable with her "duties".