I just got back from visiting my folks. They’re both 80 yrs old, still very capable of thinking and speaking coherently and getting around, but it’s clear they’re aging rapidly. At age 80 the passage of 1 year is like the passage of 5 or 10 years at age 20.
There’s no denying it, they will gradually become less capable of performing everyday tasks, driving to the grocery store or the doctor, handling housework, laundry and gardening, they will increasingly forget to turn off appliances, risk increasingly serious car accidents, perhaps fall and break a bone, resulting in very long recovery period, etc. And eventually they may end up sitting there nodding off and peeing in their pants, waiting for someone to come help them out. None of that quite holds true yet, but I (and I think they) are aware that it’s likely to be transition of geometric progression, with things increasingly deteriorating and falling apart. . . until death. That’s just the reality of human existence.
One of my grandmothers was a tough old bat who lived to 90. The other 3 grandfolks passed away in their 70’s, so I expect that in 5 years my parents will no longer be capable of living in their big, beautiful house, gardening in their backyard, and driving about living their fairly normal independent lives. Perhaps in 2 or 3 years that might not be possible. Maybe in just 1 to 2 years.
So, I asked my dad if he’s thought about alternatives once they’re no longer able to drive about and take care of themselves. He knows that day will come; they’ve got lots of friends in their 80’s and 90’s who require constant care and who are dying off one after another.
Apparently he discussed various senior facilities with my mom a while back, but they haven’t followed through, so I think my brothers and I need to start doing some preliminary research and present them with options for discussion. They won’t pack up and move to Taiwan at age 80, so that’s out. Nor does either of my brothers seem to have the ability to take them on. So I think there are basically two options: (a) hire cooks/housekeepers/grocery shoppers/caretakers to live in their nice house with them (perhaps part time at first but maybe fulltime eventually, or (b) move into a senior facility. Regarding the latter, I started researching and apparently there are two kinds: “independent living” facilities and “assisted living” facilities.
I expect it must me heart-wrenching to accept the move into either, because it’s an admission that I’m a deteriorating old geezer working my way towards death, can no longer care for myself, and I’ll move into this place for the few final years as I waste away until I die. True, there’s bingo and yoga classes, but you’re holed up with a bunch of other geezers waiting to die. At least that’s my initial impression.
Some such places, like this one, look very nice, with golf course, swimming pool, hiking trails, etc., but that place must be affordable only for retired stockbrokers and CEOS and not most normal people.
Anyway, I’m just thinking aloud, as I’m only starting to consider the reality and the possibilities. What are your thoughts/experiences in this area?