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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    San Diego, CA

    Default Navigating next steps with parents- need tips and guidance

    My mom is 78 and dad is 84- they are still living in their own home which is far too big for just two people. They have been arguing quite a bit about what their next steps will be, and although my siblings and I are trying to help them with the process they have very different opinions about what they want and neither seems to want to budge. I'll try to keep this concise and to the point, but please bear with me if I can't manage it!

    Background: they live in a 3500 square foot home that they have occupied for 13 years. Both of my parents have some hoarding tendencies, so there's a lot of stuff. The backyard is also full of junk, but my dad is also an avid gardener so having a yard is very important to him.

    Mom's perspective: sell the house and move into a senior facility that provides meals, housekeeping- she pretty much wants to live in a hotel type situation so she doesn't have to deal with upkeep of a household anymore. She's still mobile, but tires easily and has lived with diabetes for decades so while she doesn't currently need constant medical supervision, it would be nice to have easy access to it.

    Dad's perspective: he refuses to move into a facility because he wants to maintain his independence and have his garden. He thinks not having any regular responsibilities is going to hasten his death and he doesn't feel that they can find a place that they will feel is a community of their own (we're Filipino, the places they've seen so far are predominantly populated by non-Filipinos).

    At this point, they are arguing so much that they are seriously considering going their separate ways with their living situations. They wouldn't divorce, and they joke that they would just "date" each other regularly, but this doesn't seem like a viable solution to me or my siblings for many reasons. I've suggested that we help them declutter the house and get it to function more efficiently for them, possibly even hire someone to live in and take care of the daily housekeeping and cooking, but my mom doesn't seem to think that it will be enough to keep her in the house. My dad thinks he can continue doing the cooking and cleaning, but obviously it's already not enough because my mom is frustrated with the state of the house on a regular basis.

    So, if you've made it this far- thank you for your patience! At this point, are there other suggestions I can make as possible compromises for them? Do you know of any services that can help us find the appropriate level of help for them to keep them in their home? How do I get them to get rid of stuff when they are resistant to the process? I just feel like I don't know what questions to ask, what to look out for, how to get us all through this without anyone killing each other

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014


    I would suggest touring various types of places, if they haven't already. They are not all the same, and most will have a waiting list, so it could be quite some time that they get a placement at their place of choice.

    My grandmother's first place had a traditional nursing home (nicknamed "the big house") for people who needed more constant care and monitoring. It was surrounded by assisted living condos for people who could live more independently. The condos had fenced in back yards and the facility had people who would do the gardening/landscaping for you if you wanted them to. The condos had emergency pull cords in all the rooms and the management would come around periodically to check on the residents, invites them to social activities, etc.

    My grandmother's second place is for Alzheimer's. It is one building shaped like a square with an interior courtyard. The residents can landscape or decorate the space outside their window, and the courtyard has raised planters for people who want to garden. It also allows pets and staff or their children will walk the dogs on a regular schedule. I can say for a fact that my grandmother's dog loves it there. It kind of cracks me up to see how happy he is hanging out with the staff and the dogs of other "inmates". (What my grandmother called the residents initially, she likes it there now.)

    The getting rid of stuff is a tough process. I am of no help there. Sorry.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 1999


    Hi, I haven't BTDT yet, but a friend in a similar situation recommends these books :

    It looks like the website also has some articles that may be helpful, as well (search "downsize").

    Please keep us posted on your progress; I hope your parents find a solution that works for both of them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013


    Do they have any family that lives nearby? My grandfather has always liked to garden, and when they moved into a condo much like your mom's preference he planted herbs in planters on his balcony and went over to my aunt's house on a fairly regular basis to do some work in her yard.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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    DD 8/17

  5. #5
    mmsmom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Hopefully they can each compromise a bit and look at some places. There are "over 55" communities that would offer a yard or at least a garden plot. Often in those communities you can eat in the dining room if you want but also still have a kitchen to prepare their own meals. They really need to get out there and look with an open mind. I found with my grandparents they only thought of nursing home environments and had no idea how nice some of these senior living places can be.

  6. #6
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Default Navigating next steps with parents- need tips and guidance

    My ILs downsized into a duplex in a subdivision that has mostly retirees due to size of the homes (2 bedroom). It's smaller than their old house, HOA takes care of gardening, but they can plant in some garden beds and pots. They're still responsible for own meals, cleaning, general house responsibilities as they own the duplex, so it may be more than your mother wants to do. We all chip in and pay for a cleaning service to make it easier on them. They're much more social now than in old house as have neighbors with similar interests, rather than having to drive somewhere. They're always playing bridge or at happy hour at a neighbor's house.

    It might be a compromise your parents would agree on.

    MIL and FIL moved on their own accord, so they controlled the process. They cleaned out their house, which took several months. Lots of donations to charity and a garage sale.

    Sent from my iPhone using Baby Bargains
    Last edited by niccig; 07-12-2017 at 09:50 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by mmsmom View Post
    They really need to get out there and look with an open mind. I found with my grandparents they only thought of nursing home environments and had no idea how nice some of these senior living places can be.
    Quote Originally Posted by niccig View Post
    My ILs downsized into a duplex in a subdivision that has mostly retirees due to size of the homes (2 bedroom).
    They have to get out there and look and look. There are amazing retirement communities that would offer both of them what they are looking for, but there may also be neighborhoods that due to their house size and proximity to senior centers attract retirees and would be a good compromise. We have both in my family. My aunt was so opposed to any retirement community until she was forced to look at it when her husband's health became more than she could handle and she found an amazing one. She has as much independence as she ever did, but resources to help for my uncle now and her later when needed. For my parents, they didn't want that, but found a neighborhood with small homes and very small yards that is right by the senior citizen center and is all retirees. I didn't do much for either other than send links to my parents on houses as house hunting on the internet was foreign to them, but they went from almost denial to motivated movers decluttering every day once they started to see what was out there. You obviously have a lot more to deal with, but maybe you could search for neighborhoods or centers to actually show them and nudge them on that path.

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