My siblings and I are trying to encourage and help our mother move out of the Florida house where she has lived for twenty-five years and relocate to a senior independent living community in Virginia. (Truth be told, most of this burden has so far been on the shoulders of my oldest sister.) This is not an easy task but it should be done. Our Mom no longer drives and currently lives alone in a rural Florida community with poor health care options and limited senior resources.
So, Mom needs to be out of her house ASAP. My sister and younger brother (who lives in Baltimore) have visited independent living facilities in Virginia and found at least one that we think my Mom will like. We do not want to make a mistake. On the other hand, almost any living situation will be an improvement over where Mom is now.
One concept that each of us must reluctantly accept is that Mom may not agree with our idea of a desirable living environment for her. Moreover, her reasons for not liking what we like may not appear rational to us. As we get older, our decision-making becomes less objectively rational and may even seem illogical to others. No amount of reasonable discussion can change our minds about certain things.
Fortunately, our Mom has acknowledged that she needs to move. The door to relocation has been opened and we need to move her through it as soon as possible.
Are mistakes possible in this future move? Yes. For example, I recently read a difficult story of a woman who convinced her parents to move from rural New York to an independent living community near her in California. Everything about the move made sense except that her parents could not (or would not) adapt to the change.
Yes, it is conceivable and in some cases likely that our older family members will make “where to live” decisions that are objectively illogical or even irrational from our perspective Nevertheless, if they are otherwise of sound mind they have the right to make those decisions. Our job is to be as supportive as possible while not carrying guilt around if a family member experiences negative consequences from making a decision that we disagree with. We also cannot limit our own living choices based on the decisions of those over whom we have no control, even if they are family whom we love and care about.
So, is it possible that we will make a mistake in having Mom move from her home in Florida? Sure – but the consequences of move paralysis are potentially worse. We will press forward and hope for a positive outcome for our Mom.
Here is the story I referenced above: My Parents Moved to a Retirement Community – Then They Moved Out