Yesterday, I started a conversation with my mother, one that we have been having on and off for a long time.
“Have you thought anymore about moving?” I asked her casually.
“Yes, I have,” she replied. “And no, I don’t want to.”
But we have reached a point where it is impractical for her to live alone in a house that is far too big for her and even she realises that. The time has come to review the options, which are:
1. Continue to struggle on her own until such time as she is forced to move (possibly resulting in another hospital stay or going into a home);
2. Move in with either myself or my sister, or,
3. Consider some kind of sheltered accommodation.
Option 1, whilst undesirable from her daughters’ point of view, is the one that my mum is clinging on to. She hopes to stay in the family home until the day she dies and I understand that, I honestly do.
We are in the final throes of moving house, and I have to admit to being apprehensive. We have lived in our house for over a decade, by far the longest I have lived anywhere since being a child, and it will seem strange to move on. I can’t imagine how frightening it must be for my mother, who has been resident in the same house for 60 plus years, to make such a big change.
I have thought very hard about option 2, and aside from the difficulties of multi-generational living, I cannot see it working from a practical point of view. I have three children and even after the move, we won’t have a spare bedroom. Mum can’t manage the stairs in any case and our new house has less downstairs rooms (although bigger) than we have now.
Which brings us to option 3. My mother tends to equate sheltered accommodation with living in a care home (akin to shacking up with the Devil) and I know from the experience of my mother-in-law (MIL) that it is not the same thing at all. It is communal living (MIL is rarely short on company) but with your own front door and there is always someone on hand in an emergency. But how do I convey this to a stubborn 86 year old woman?
We have been rolling around in this particular issue for quite a while and with each day that passes, finding a solution becomes a bit more pressing.
Yesterday, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Mum did admit to seeing the sense in taking a look at the possibilities.
It is a small start, but one on which I am hoping she can begin to build a new life.