Monday, October 30, 2017

Aging Parents and Planning

Had a conversation with my wife last night about my father and his eyesight. Despite being healthy as a particularly healthy horse in all other ways, he has macular degeneration resulting in extremely poor eyesight.

At the moment, this manageable. It means that he needs help with detail work (including such things as reading the bills so he can pay them) but he's managed to find a renter to live in one side of the house, and she helps him out with that. (I've done some of that myself, also, when we're over on weekends.) He has a sort of bicycle-sized electric tricycle that he can drive to the grocery store, so he can still do his own shopping. He's part of a reasonably active church community, and he has several family friends in the area. About the only thing he can't do is get to the liquor store; the nearest ones are too far away for the tricycle, and he feels awkward about asking the family friends to take him. (Before anybody asks: I took him on Saturday. And he drinks slowly, so he's set for probably the next year.)

But this isn't going to last, and I'm not sure what happens when it starts to fall apart. Of the nearby family friends, the husband in one couple has Alzheimer's, and it seems to be starting to get more acute. Another couple is still in very good shape, but that could always change suddenly; we just don't know. And my dad's eyesight wouldn't have to get too much worse before he wouldn't be able to get his own groceries anymore. Having the renter appears to be going brilliantly, but she might not be able to help him out the way he'll need it if his eyes really go.

The only problem is, we don't really have anywhere to put him. Our house isn't big enough; we don't have any spare rooms for that. My brother and his wife might have an extra room, but their house is arranged with all the bedrooms upstairs and I'm not sure that would work. But honestly, even if we had the perfect arrangement to move him into, I'm not sure he would want to move in with either of us.

There are some other possibilities, and I know we've talked over at least some of this with him. But I think it's time to discuss all this with him again. The thing is, I've been thinking that the current arrangement could probably last another three or four years... but I'm starting to think it may only really be manageable for another year or two. And that's a little scary.

There's another little coda to these thoughts, but I think I'm going to save that for the post-Hallowe'en post.


  1. I'm looking forward to reading your coda. What a dilemma for you and your family. I hope your dad will continue to be able to live on his own for a long time.

    1. Ye gods, I hope so too. And the coda will be post-Hallowe'en because he's been building Firstborn a Hallowe'en costume. We picked it up on Sunday. It's magnificent. But it's probably the last of these projects, and that's... kind of the tragic end of an era.

      There will be pictures, and probably video.


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