Not being the child anymore

This is the very first year that the switch to Daylight Savings Time has been harder on me personally than it was on my kids. It made me feel kind of old, and like the baton was being passed, somehow.

I'm wondering if you all can help me with something. I couldn't answer the question for today that I was trying to work on, and realized it was because I've been thinking about this, so I just decided to ask for help.

I'm going to my hometown this weekend to help my grandmother move from the house she raised my dad in to an assisted living facility*.

I'm wondering if we're all (me, my grandmother, my parents, my uncle, my brother) just exceptionally well-adjusted about it? Or did we do our processing and grieving about it when it was my great-great-aunt doing this 10 years ago? Or are we in denial? Or is it just going to hit us hard later?

What's the process I should be expecting?

Is it possible that we'll feel sad, but mostly just relieved that she's going to be in a safer place?

I think I'm worried that we're somehow all "being strong" for each other, and it's all going to hit the fan in a big splattery mess.

Has anyone been through this? How did it go for you?

* For those of you not familiar with the name, "assisted living" in the US means a small apartment/flat inside a main building, so elderly people don't have to maintain the grounds of a house, and have more safety because they enter from a central hall, but can still usually cook for themselves in a small galley kitchen. There are also group activities–card clubs, excursions for shopping an trips, etc.–they can take part in or not. It sounds an awful lot like living in a dormitory during university, and I'd totally sign up for one right now if not for the kids. But I digress.

44 thoughts on “Not being the child anymore”

  1. What a task.FWIW, I tend to find grieving “leak” out later. Like years after my dog died, my roommates were watching some syndicated sitcom that was airing a “very special episode” about a dog dying and I sobbed for an hour.
    But I suspect it will hit you in the house itself. It feels like letting go of a part of family history.
    Or, if you are lucky, you are right, and you “pre-grieved.”
    Either way I wish you all luck. The emptying of a house is grueling work. So much STUFF! Even for minimalists. Oy. I’ll be thinking of you.

  2. Ten years ago my mom sold our childhood home and moved in with me, because she could no longer live independently. All six siblings and 15 grandchildren felt sad because the house and large backyard had been the scene of countless family parties, etc. The house is only three miles away from my home, and I still avoid driving past it. We spent one Thanksgiving weekend clearing it out.For the four years my mom lived my house became the family get together place, but it wasn’t the same. Moving my mother into assisted living would have felt devastating because she would have hated it.

  3. It doesn’t have to be sad, especially if the place she is going to is nice. I helped a close friend move her grandmother into an assisted living place, and with all of her furniture set up nicely, it was really quite lovely. All the conveniences are just great–look, no more food shopping! look, social opportunities just a short stroll away!I’m sure the larger picture (growing older, saying goodbye to the family home) will make you sad, but it sounds like it’s a GOOD move for your grandmother, which makes it at least in part a happy occasion.

  4. We moved my grandma into assisted living about a year ago. I have mostly felt relieved because she is now almost 90 and truly was not safe on her own. She is starting to get severely confused in the evenings and wandered away a couple of times, so I know she is safer.It’s been harder on my mom, who lives about a mile from my Grandma and takes her to doctors, etc (sees her many times a week, in other words). It’s hard because my Grandma will always say things like “Oh please take me home with you!” or “when do I get to go home?” So my mom ends up feeling guilty, even though she knows this is the best place for my Grandma right now. If my Grandma were fully “there” it might be easier to explain things to her and have her remember and understand why she needs to be where she is, but that’s not the case and so it’s hard.
    I hope you guys do ok with the move and I hope your Grandma is safe and happy in her new home!

  5. We’ve been working on this for awhile now. My MIL has an aide, but it’s such a difficult task that she’s now on her third aide. On Wednesday she moves into an independent facility because assisted living won’t take someone in a wheelchair (she was hit by a car and broke her leg). She thinks it’s temporary, but we fervently hope she likes it (unlikely, she’s 57 and feels she’s too young) because she has progressive MS and has severe cognitive problems in addition to problems with balance and strength. (She frequently leaves the same message on our machine ten minutes apart, without realizing it. She asks the same questions repeatedly, never retaining the answers.)Honestly, for us, it’s a relief for her to be out of her cluttered apartment.

  6. I do think it’s possible that you guys a) did a bunch of processing and grieving 10 years ago, and/or b) that you’re sad but also relieved.None of which is to say you are not going to grieve and process this process, but in my experience with a number of deaths and awful illnesses in the two generations above mine (mother, grandparents), practice actually does help take some of the overwhelmed and bewilderment out of this process. You still have the emotions of sadness, anger, guilt, and more, but there is less fear and less confusion.
    At least that’s my experience; I am more than willing to recognize that others’ will be different. But you sound a bit like I felt with my grandfather’s decline and death a couple of years ago.
    Also, may I submit a theory that it’s this looming transition that is making you feel old and as though the baton’s been passed, more than daylight savings time?
    I’m so sorry you’re going through this Moxie, but I’m glad you have family to help you through it, and that your grandmother will be safe the burden of her care will presumably be lifted a bit from you and your family members.

  7. My grandparents moved out of their house almost 10 years ago, and I think we are all still a little sad, missing them and the house and small beach town they lived in. One thing I wish I had done was walk around the house and taken pictures of how their everyday space looked.

  8. After my father passed away, my husband, kids and I lived in the family home I grew up in for two years. But it never really felt right. We ended up selling the house because it was just too small for us and moving somewhere else. I expected that moving out would be very traumatic, especially seeing the house empty. But it wasn’t. I think I did all my grieving earlier, when making the decision to sell. Also I knew it was the right thing to do. I still feel sad sometimes (and maybe I haven’t processed the grief yet) and get sad whenever I drive past and see the changes the new owners have made to it. But I still know it was the right thing to do.So perhaps you and your family have already made peace with the decision. You know it’s the right thing to do. The hard part is making the decision, and now your grandmother has something new to look forward to which sounds pretty cool.

  9. My parents just moved 500 miles to a small house right near me. I’m sad that they’ve left my childhood home but I love their new, easier and smaller house. I’m thrilled that they can help babysit but worried that they live too close. I’m relieved that they’re here so I’ll be able to help them someday, and scared that they might need me someday. Conflicted a bit?And, like AmyM, I wish I’d taken pictures of the whole house, in and out, before they moved.

  10. I guess it depends on the individual but when we moved my Mum and Dad into an assisted living apartment we realized it was the best thing we could have done. They love it so much, have made friends and they feel a sense of relief that they don’t have to worry about the old house anymore. The rest of the family are also relieved to see them so happy and looked after. Let’s hope your experience is the same.

  11. We’re dealing with right now with my dh’s great aunt. She’s so independent and cognitively still all there, but physically she just can’t do it anymore. I also experienced part of this with my grandparents.Though we’re glad great aunt will most likely be going to a place where she’ll be more closely looked after the underlying reality is ever present—she is getting close to dying and this is a step on that path. That’s what’s making me sad, I adore her.
    With my grandparents it was seeing them leave a home that all of us used as the gathering place for our family. Cleaning it out brought me to tears many, many times. When they died and we really had to clean things out is when I was a mix of gratitude and tears. I was thrilled to learn more about them from their belongings and sad, so sad that they were gone and I would never get to discuss what I observed from their treasures. The treasures explained a lot about who they were that they never shared with us.
    Moxie sorry you are having to go through this. You’re not fooling yourself about your reaction. This is something that comes in waves. One day you’re fine with it, and one day something pops up and you aren’t fine with it. Know that your feelings will change from time to time and you are where you are right now. I think that’s the best any of us can do.

  12. I handled the selling of my grandmother’s house pretty well. Could be in part because she had passed 10 years prior to when my dad and his siblings finally sold the house. I got a lot of closure by helping clean out the house and getting to take some pieces that were/are special to me.However, just the other day I started thinking about the house and missing it. It’s been sold (and demolished by land developers) for over 5 years. So don’t be surprised if it hits you way down the line, and perhaps repeatedly.
    Good luck to you and your family.

  13. My grandmother moved to a place such as this and the entire family reacted just fine. I think it helped that my grandmother had macular degeneration and could quite honestly not take care of herself alone anymore. It was a decision that she came to, no one forced her to do anything (not that forcing my grandmother was a possibility ever!). I do think my aunt nudged her a bit with the location (ten minutes from my aunt’s house, about thirty from me and 2.5 hours from my mom) and did some groundwork weeding out bad places (she’s also a social worker), but it was my grandmother’s pick. She thought of it as an extended summer camp!

  14. In my experience….when we put my MIL in assisted living (from living with us – she had Alzheimer’s), it was a similar feeling to when I had to change out of my street clothes and into a gown for my induction. Even though everyone knew that it was a good idea. It was a big commitment. (Although if it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the road.)My grandfather passed away last July – in November me, my sister, and my cousins came up to help “claim” stuff. My parents and my dad’s sister had been working on cleaning the place out. I think I had gotten used to him not being there – it was weirder when we were all there for the funeral, except for him. But then it hit me about a month later how difficult and odd it must be for my parents. Somehow, having my mom and dad there made it not so odd for me.
    Good luck with the move. Hope it’s as easy as you expect.

  15. Was going back to read more @Sharon – you’re right – we found really interesting things in November. Cub Scout books, my great grandmother’s fire king set, a binder that my uncle kept for his coffee club at work, letters that my mom wrote when she was just married to my dad. That part of it was great.

  16. I’m from that same town and when we moved my grandmother (Busia) out of her house into assisted living (then not to long from that to full nursing home care) it was more of a relief.She was my mom’s mother and for her it was the only house she knew (they built it when she was 5 – her first house had been long sold away) and while she and her brothers had some emotions tied to the house itself, my Busia was in such need of help that it was more of a huge relief. There was a 5 year period before the move during which “when” the move would happen was always looming. The day my uncle had to break into the house was the last straw (Busia was mostly deaf, would always throw a latch on the screen door so you couldn’t open it from the outside & he could see her laying 1/2 off the couch – she had fallen asleep and couldn’t hear him pounding or calling her phone).
    I think what helped a lot was that all the kids and grandkids (many of us in our first homes/apartments at the time) took most of the furniture and other household items. I know my mom and uncle always comment that they love seeing her furniture in my house.
    The neighborhood has taken a bad skid into a not-so-great-place-to-live area over the last 20 years (Polish Village) & most of her friends had already moved or passed away, so that helped ease everyone’s mind about the transition, too.

  17. Like all grief, there’s no “wrong way”. It may be fine; it may hit you in three months when you (or the kids) have the flu and you’re run down and you eat soup you remember eating there. The only thing that can go wrong with grief, as you are acknowledging here, is that it can get distorted and unhealthy. The best way to get to an unhealthy grieving process is to not allow yourself to grieve, or to try to make your feelings fit what you think they’re “supposed” to be rather than simply acknowledging and living with what they are.So I think you’re doing fine. đŸ™‚

  18. My grandmother moved into assisted living maybe 10 years ago. I agree that the grieving can come in waves, and it really depends on the circumstances surrounding the move.In my Grannie’s case, she moved out of the house that my Mum grew up in when I was away at university. This was about 8-10 years before she moved into assisted living. She lived on her own in an appartment (seniors residence) that was closer to my parents’ house, before going to AL.
    I really miss that old house (the one where my Mum grew up). In my dreams, I win the lottery, buy back the house from it’s current owners, get married, have all the guests walk in a procession up the gravel driveway, and have the reception in the back yard with long banquet tables dressed in white linens (it was an old country house with a great big lawn with raspberry bushes that I used to eat from when I was little). Um, yeah, I really miss that house.
    I think that’s the hard part. It’s not so much moving to assisted living (which usually makes things much easier & safer for our loved ones). It’s leaving the family home behind. That home where all the memories are. You don’t want to feel like the memories will vanish. Definitely take pictures, try to find some tangible items that you can bring home with you. I didn’t do that at the time as I was too far away, and I was, well, in my early twenties and not so aware of how important it might be. But I really regret not going back now.
    A few years ago, when my grandmother’s memory started going a bit, my oldest cousin had the brilliant idea of putting together a ‘book’ called ‘The House that Grannie Built’. Everyone in the family wrote a few paragraphs about our memories of the time spent at Grannie’s (or at home for my Mom & her siblings) and my Mum put it together with some photos in an album. It was a great gift for my grandmother, but also great for all of us in the family to keep the memories of the time we spent together alive.
    FWIW, the hardest thing for me, concerning my grandmother, has been having her not know who I was when I saw her this Christmas. Heartbreaking. But she’s almost 93, so you know… Amazingly, she always remembers who my son is :). Ah, the power of young children!
    Take care & good luck with the transition Moxie.

  19. Haven’t read the comments, so apologies if this repeats– my experience is that it can go really well if the person is ready and wants to make the move. That was the case with my grandmother, she knew she couldn’t live on her own anymore and it was a relief for her to get help. She was happier, so we were all happier. It can be stressful when that’s not the case. My in-laws have gone to incredible lengths to keep my husband’s grandmother in her own home because it would devastate her to leave it.Re: assisted living, it’s totally the dorms all over again. Complete with drama, gossip, social hierarchies, the works. My grandmother was voted the “Valentine Queen” her first year there. No kidding. It can get nutty but she also made some really good friends and that took the pressure off my mom to be her sole companion.
    Good luck to you and your family as you make this transition!

  20. sorry – I have no experience, hence no advice. I will, however, read the comments with interest as I am sure I will have to deal with this eventually.

  21. Hi, Moxie. This is my first time commenting, but I have to tell you, you saved my LIFE when my son was younger and hit a sleep regression. You helped me feel normal and more sane and I am SO thankful for you and your sound parenting logic.Couple things here. First, my grandmother HATED and FOUGHT the idea of assisted living. . . and ended up LOVING it! She was there about five years until a serious stroke required we move her to an adult foster care home. She loved the social opportunities, the fact that she could “live on her own,” yet always have resources and help just steps away.
    The hardest part for her seemed to be the actual decision to move and then giving up some of her things. But once she was settled, she did really well. Like anything else, it did take some time to get used to it, so I would recommend more frequent visits until your grandma is settled.
    For ME, the hardest part was just not having Grandma’s house to go to anymore. The assisted living place was quite lovely, but it never felt like her “home” to me. But since she was happier there, I eventually settled into it, too.
    Hugs, because it’s not easy on anyone.
    Second, I read back in your post about organization and clutter. Can I recommend Flylady.net to you? I started it about a month ago and it has really changed my world. It does take some time and I don’t follow every single little thing, but I have started to notice a difference around my home with the small steps that she recommends. Good luck!

  22. I think it depends on the situation. I mourn houses I used to live in, or where people I loved lived, and can’t distinguish between the place and the memories, nostalgia.But that can really take on less significance when the situation is clear.
    It sounds like you did do the grieving earlier and you’re relying on lessons learned then. And yes, you might get hit again when you walk in, or out for the last time. But you also know the gains to be made with her safety and stress. Going through all the steps with your great aunt helps you know what matters this time, I think.
    We had to move my FIL against his will from a cabin in NM to assisted living because of Alzheimer’s and it was the worst. He’d worked his whole life to retire there and was totally unsafe and unsound. We tried everything to make it work.
    And I’d say having gone through all the incremental steps of trying to keep him where he wanted to be taught us what decisions matter for next time: here’s what’s worth stressing about, here’s what’s likely to work, here’s what we just can’t be bothered with trying again.
    I think when the costs/benefits are carefully weighed, it really helps manage the emotional side. But take pix.

  23. A few thoughts… my grandmother was ecstatic to be moving in to the assisted living facility, but the brothers and sisters (and wives and ex-wives, etc etc) made dividing the “stuff” up very hard because of long-held grudges. If you don’t have that working against you, you are halfway home.It was hard to not “have” the house anymore, as it was the central hub for the family and the site of all of the Christmas parties, etc. Nothing was the same afterwards, but it was different. What finally made us feel better about it was to find out that a family had moved in and was renovating the house, putting a lot of effort and thought into how to make it modern and livable for a large family. Seeing it put to good use (the family gave us a link to their blog) really helped with the transition.
    Big hugs and good luck. And thanks to everyone for chiming in, my parents are in the process of selling the home they’ve lived in my entire life, and I’m struggling with the sort of weirdness of it.

  24. we’re in a different physical situation but dealing with some of the same emotions.we *are* the assisted living- we moved back here to the house i grew up in after my momwhoraisedme died to care for her husband, my great uncle (dadwhoraisedme). over the last ten years his needs grew slowly, until about a year ago when things quickly spun out of what we even realized was our control.
    we’ve had to hire a fulltime caregiver (actually less $ than assisted living, plus he gets to stay in the house as long as possible) due to his progressing parkinsonian dementia. and that is tough as hell but the best thing for him right now for obvious reasons.
    i feel as though i am grieving every damn day. mostly grieving that he’ll never be who he always was for me. i miss him. he is this stranger now, me caring for him the way he used to care for me, not always doing such a great job, hoping i’m making the best choices for all of us.
    someday when he’s gone i think we’ll leave this place. i don’t know how i’ll feel- i grew up here, had my own kids here, but we’ve physically changed so much about he the house b/c of all the work we’ve done adding on and re-doing things, and i wonder if leaving this place that is so different now won’t be so sad for me after all, but a release and a relief.
    i wish you peace on your journey, mama. you know i’ll be thinking of you and your family and praying for your transition to be easy.

  25. You may miss and mourn the house, but all will be well if your grandmother is moving to a good place. We’ve had very good experiences with assisted living facilities. Not so much with “nursing homes.”

  26. My parents are in a retirement community (from independent units with services to full-scale care for people who can’t function on their own; residents move as their needs require), and for them it’s been great. It’s near their old house, loads of their friends live there, they can have help when they need it, but no one is in their face if they don’t.One thing to look out for (not meaning to predict doom, but . . .) is that this may be a good change for her, but if she ends up needing more help than an AL facility can provide, the next move may be harder. AL can feel like “Someone else is doing the dirty work that I no longer care to do,” but when someone loses the ability to care for herself, it’s harder. One of my grandmothers lost a lot of mental acuity, which made her anxious, and the loss mental that she needed to move someplace with more supervision, and that made her unhappy. It was not a good combination.

  27. Pnuts mama, you are amazing! I’d say a saint, but I don’t have much faith in those. But you are something really, really, good.Jill in Atlanta, you and I are flip sides of the same coin. My parents live about 500 miles away, and I am so conflicted… I want them to move to a little house near us… so they can have more time with the little ones… and so I can take care of them when they really need it… but they have roots where they are (still in the house I grew up in)… My mom’s been in and out of the hospital these last few weeks and I have been so anxious and scared… not so much about the exact current situation, but about how it signifies her decline… It’s hard. This post is really timely. What I’ve found comforts me is the thought that while I feel anxiety about the future, it just might all be okay when we finally get there.

  28. From where I am from in India, the idea of assisted living is frowned upon. You do not send of your parents/grandparents to some place where some stranger takes care of them. That is your responsibility as their son. Not so much for daughters since they are married of and not expected to take responsibility for parents (unless of course there are no sons). So when my grandparents turned around 80 years old, their sons (my dad and uncles) begged them to come stay with one of them, all of them who lived within a 5 mile radius. But they would not leave the place that they had grown old in. So what ended up happening was my mom and aunts took turn staying with them couple of months at a time. And it worked out fine in the end!

  29. Moxie – could it be that you have gone through and survived so much difficulty lately that this, a part of normal aging, is just something you can handle?

  30. I’ve seen this from the side of someone who made the decision that it was time to move on their own (my grandparents) and someone who did not want to move but needed to because of medical issues (DH’s grandmother & great-aunt). I can tell you the former is ever, ever, ever so much easier on the family and the new resident.If the former is the case (and it sounds like it may be if your grandmother is acting well-adjusted and not like a 2 year old fighting a much needed nap), I’m guessing that you will all be sad at times but with the family united, still be able to find laughter at things you find in the back of closets and cupboards, etc.
    I’m not saying it’s all going to be sunshine and roses and unicorns, but overall I think if everyone is looking at this move as a positive transition it’s a lot harder to feel that sadness about what was. Not that you won’t have it, just that it’s less likely to be as crushing as say cleaning out the house would be if your grandmother (or any other family member) was not on board.

  31. It is sad, moving and quite a transition to change roles. I’ve been doing that for the past several years. All I can say is that having it be the (grand)parent’s choice is by far a better thing than having to make the decision for him or her. The latter is tough, very tough. My father fought us tooth and nail and we went through years of trying to persuade him. Living at a distance, we as his children lived in constant fear of something happening– and many things did, we would fly out immediately and try to pick up the pieces. In the end, he’s close to family but in unfamiliar territory. No one can say whether that has made him go downhill faster, but the move became unavoidable. And it’s a good thing.Moxie, as long as you and your family are sharing this experience, you’ll all be fine and will grow with it. Know that assisted living lasts only for awhile and then you may begin moving through the different echelons of care facilities, depending on the health/cognitive situation. Independent living. Memory care units. Skilled nursing.
    The one thing we never found was a place for “high functioning” dementia patients. That means someone with dementia but who is not blotto. It’s too late now, but if anyone here has been through that frustrating search, I’d love to know.
    Strength to you, Moxie.

  32. I haven’t had time to read the comments. But I got some excellent advice when we had to move my parents out of the family home. As hard as it was for us, it was hardest for them. Dad was ailing physically and Mom had Alzheimer’s.We sent them on a day trip. They got up in the morning, and set out for an adventure. We made sure the moving truck didn’t even arrive until they left. They never packed a thing.
    We moved only the rooms they were inhabiting in the new space – bedroom, living room, bathroom, kitchen. In most cases we never even emptied drawers. As we disassembled each room we payed attention to how they’d had it set up – Dad’s stuff on the right side of the medicine cabinet and mom’s on the left – glasses to the right of the sink – that kind of thing – so we could set it up a similarly as possible when they came home to the new space.
    They came home to their new place shortly after dinner. All their stuff was moved and set up – ice cream in the freezer, tv remote next to Dad’s chair.
    Now they were in and settled and didn’t need to be a part of clearing the house out. This was the hard part for us, but we were very very happy that we made their move as painless as possible.
    Going through stuff can get overwhelming. Less sentimental people tend to just want to get rid of everything and sometimes get rid of something precious. More sentimental people tend to want to keep every little thing and it gets ridiculous. And these people working together can really step on one another’s toes.
    In our case, we pared down a lot (filled up an industrial 40 ft long dumpster and still had a few truck loads of stuff) – but we still kept too much too. It is ok. My sister and I have probably been through stuff a total of 4 times over the years since then. And each time we are able to let go of more and more – even now that out parents are gone.
    I tell people that this experience healed me of any pack rat/ overly sentimental tendencies I had. My goal is to only have a few precious items from them. I do not want the fact that I miss them so to weigh me down. Neither would they.
    Somewhere in all this I realized that God or whomever made men more physically strong than women to make up for the fact that he/she/whomever made women emotionally stronger than men. It ended up being the women that had to move everybody through this transition. In the end my brother was very little help. Having helpful men on hand that didn’t have life long memories of the homestead (dh and bil) really really helped.
    Oh, and put someone in charge of checking pockets! It’s tedious, but important.
    Good luck, to you and your family, Moxie.

  33. Ok, just read the comments. My what a wonderful thought-provoking group.Re: Moxie’s pre-grieving. I think the first time you do something like this you are indeed blazing a new trail. It’s sort of like that first year with your first baby. A lot of energy goes into becoming a parent. The next time around there is still an emotional and physical toll, but you’ve already wrapped your brain around the changes and transitions in front of you so it seems like less work. I hope that made sense.
    @ pnuts mama and anyone dealing with someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. I think I’ve posted this thought before, but it helped me SO much that I will again. At some point I changed my perspective on the dementia. basically i started seeing it as a slow transfer of spiritual energy (for lack of a better term) rather than a decay. The pieces of my Mom that were fading away were parts of her that had joined my Dad (he passed away 6 years before her). Seeing her through the decay model meant, for me, that I never caught up with my grieving as things fell away. But with the transfer model I found I could be more present – I got better at keeping my heart open and appreciating the parts of her that were still there – which in the end was just the color of her eyes and feel of her hand. The journey with her ended up being bittersweet and difficult rather than completely grueling.

  34. @ Elaine – thank you so much. I love that transfer idea and have shared it already with my husband. How tender an idea!

  35. And the physical transfer idea too! How smart and thoughtful … considerate of the occupants. I bet they loved it. Like a hotel, but with their stuff!

  36. Ladies – Please forgive this plug but I REALLY think many of you will appreciate the show I just did on momtv. The show addresses a lot of the things we talk about in this blog. The topic was: How to get your needs met and be your authentic self while parenting.You can watch it on my site @ http://bit.ly/cvEKSj.
    I’m mentioning it here because it so resonates with the title of this post. Enjoy.

  37. My great aunt and uncle, both university professors, actually refer to their assisted living facility as “the dorm.” I think they like the collegiality of the arrangement – they lived in faculty housing (modest apartments) through most of their careers, know and like many of the people at their assisted living facility, and play the piano (Aunt Lucille plays while Uncle Carl turns the pages – she’s tremendously talented) for services and events there.So it may be that your grandmother isn’t freaking out because she doesn’t see the move as a bad thing. This may be especially true if she already has friends there, or has watched friends make the move and seen that their lives become easier or more social. Death and aging are both sad and inevitable, but the steps we take to make those stages of life manageable and fulfilling can be good things.
    I hope the move goes well, and that your grandmother enjoys her new home. Enjoy this time of relative peace – if and when the emotional stuff gets hard, you’ll handle it then.

  38. We initially moved my grandparents into assisted living 5 years ago (there were other moves after that, and they’ve both since passed on). The home they initially moved to assisted living from, they’d lived in for 66 years–their entire marriage to that point.That was the house we’d spent most holidays/events in growing up. The other two homes in that holiday/event “rotation”–my uncle’s and my parents’–had already been sold and that generation had moved on when my generation flew the nest.
    Back to my grandparents. I still miss that house. I was 40 when they sold it and made the assisted living transition. That was the only place I’d ever known either of them to live. I’d just purchased a home 10 months before they moved out of theirs, or I would have bought theirs. It was just this little bitty place, but they’d always lived there and it seemed like the last constant in my life was gone.
    Coincidentally, I drove by their house last night (before I read this). That’s not as crazy and stalker-ish as it sounds–I live about 2 miles from it. It still makes me sad that it’s not “ours” anymore, and honestly I shed a little tear last night during my drive-by. The buyers painted it this awful color and re-landscaped and HOW DARE THEY? Like one of the commenters above, I fantasize that I come into a pile of money and buy it back.
    So, my feelings regarding the g’parents assisted-living transition were pretty much tied up in the house, and in that “end of an era” thing. Otherwise, I was pretty relieved about their move. For safety’s sake, it should have happened a few years before (they were 86 and 88 when the transition occured); in addition to the safety factor, the rest of us gained a lot of peace of mind out of the deal.

  39. thanks, rudyinparis (i need a way to get in touch with you!!)- i see us as survivors more than saints. we’re just trying to do the right thing. just like you.and elaine i do love that idea of his passing over while he’s living. i’ve been lucky to have some good people like yourself give me some perspective on dementia- it has been difficult for everyone, but survivable.

  40. @ pnuts mama – I have some idea of the weight you’re dealing with every day, I think. But I put off having my son for a few extra years because I didn’t think I could do it all – my most humble kudos to you. You’ve actually been on my mind all week. Just know that it may take a while for you to find your feet again when all this is done. It took me between 12 and 18 months. There is a lot of personal healing you’ll need to do – important stuff that you just don’t have time for right now. It’ll wait. But it will demand to be addressed when life makes room for it.

  41. There is a lot of individual treatment you’ll need to do – essential products that you just don’t have here we are at right now. It’ll delay. But it will need to be resolved when lifestyle creates area for it.

  42. – Hi there! I just found your site and LOVE your work!! I’m just starting my own ptohography biz here in Austin and was REALLY inspired by your beautiful images. I’m in the DFW area often to visit family and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to meet you in person and treat ya to a cup-o-joe or something. And if you ever need anything in Austin, feel free to give me a ring. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!! xoxo

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