Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mom Update

Good news on the Mom front. My brother and his wife will be moving Mom from her home in Pennsylvania to their home in South Carolina in September. Their home is more senior friendly than Mom's home in Pennsylvania. As is the case with so many Mom's who have lived in their house for a long time, her house is very cluttered. She can hardly move around. It's only a matter of time before she falls and breaks something. We are taking this preventive action to avoid such a catastrophe.

Mom wants to stay in her home. She has lived there for 51 years (since 1958.) This is where she is comfortable. Like many older folk (me included), she is reluctant to change. Her husband (my dad) died August 20, 2000, nine years ago. My other brother has lived with her in the family home since that time and taken care of her. However, the time has come to make the big change. It's not safe for her to go through another Pennsylvania winter. The winters are milder in South Carolina thus there is less chance of her slipping and falling on ice.

Another very important factor is that she should have a woman help her from time to time to bath and perform other functions like helping her dress. My brother's wife and his daughter could help my Mother with these necessary functions.

My brother's house in South Carolina also has a separate mother-in-law apartment. He took care of his mother-in-law for 27 years before she died a few years ago. Perhaps the biggest reason to move our mother to South Carolina is that my brother's full time job is as a care pastor for his church. His job is to counsel and take care of the older parishioners of his church. He and his wife are experts in elder care. As much as I love and appreciate my other brother taking care of our mother in Pennsylvania I think this is the best move for her and for us.

Her health has been slowly declining for several years now. Up until now we have acceded to her wishes to stay in her own home but lately it has become increasingly clear that she needs more professional care. After my visit last week it became clear to me that the time has arrived for her to make the move.

In the past several years I have seen my cousins and friends make similar decisions about their aging parents. In the back of my mind I always knew our time would come to make this decision for our mother. Now is the time.

My brother and sister-in law have talked with her and she has agreed to the move, at least for the winter. They plan to rent a van and come up in the latter part of September to move her and her bed down to their home in South Carolina. Of course we're prepared for her to change her mind (as she has done in the past.) However, this time she doesn't have a choice. We're making it for her. I just hope she realizes it is in her best interest.

She has taken good care of me and my two brothers her whole life. I know it is a cliche to say "My Mom is the best Mom in the whole world", but we can honestly say that. We could not have had a better Mom. Now Pop was a different story, but our Mom? We had the best Mom. We love you Mom.


Anonymous said...

Hello Ron,

I hope your Mom does agree to go to SC with your brother. It was a great idea to present it to her at first as just for the winter. This still gives her the feeling that she is in control. I often wondered what you meant when you said your brother's residence was the best place for her, now I understand. Your other brother will miss her terribly. Is he single?

Her dementia may worsen for a while. Changes disorient the elderly but with her new surroundings comes the excitement of spending time with family that she didn't see as often so that should help tremendously.

I wish you all the best with her relocaction & hope that the transistion goes well for her. It's not easly to do what's best for aging parents. I know for myself it took a toll on me but having my Mom with family til she passed was time well spent for us all.


Nitewrit said...


Of course, this type of thing is also weighing on my own mind. I talked to my mom about it a few months ago, when my dad was in the hospital, but she said she wouldn't move in with us, that she would be fine staying in her home. Right now, she is probably correct. She has to take care of most things now because of my dad's heart situation. Although he is not an invalid and can care for himself, he is no longer permitted to drive and cannot do any "heavy lifting"; that is, many of the routine chores he'd have done in the past. My mom has had to pickup those things. (My dad will be 91 in about a month and a half; mom is 89.)

However, I am not certain what will happen if my dad should die. I have seen many a long-term spouse deteriorate when one of the couple is gone.

She lives an hour away, so it isn't easy to keep track of them day-to-day. And I have no siblings.

I think it is good your mother has a place she can go and get the proper attention to her needs that is in the family. I can understand both her and my mom's desire to remain in their long-time home. It would be my own. Lo and i want to stay independent until we die and we don't want to be any kind of burden on our children. Still, the reality is we all age and face physical difficulties and sometimes must rely on others. I hope the transition goes well for you, your brothers and especially your mom. She is a great mom, she was alway a very nice lady.

Ron Tipton said...


Thank your for your kind and generous comments about my Mother. I always thought your Mom was a great Mom too. Like you, your Mom was always kind and generous to me. Her kindness was always appreciated.

I talked to Isaac this morning. He's on board with our Mom's move to South Carolina. Of course she will change her mind again but this time she doesn't have a choice.

You are right that the long term spouse deteriorates rapidly after their spouse dies. That is what happened to my Mother. My father died August 22, 2000. My Mother has been going down hill ever since, especially this year.

We, as children of aging parents, are faced with the challenge of caring for our aging parents. I hope the best for you and your parents Larry. I know it will all work out alright for you and your family. I know I am very fortunate to have two brothers to help me, especially one brother whose occupation is caring for the elderly. I am blessed and I know it.

Ron Tipton said...


Thank you for your comments. My brother in Pennsylvania who lives with my Mother is single. He was married but divorced some years ago. He has three children, two of whom live nearby in Pennsylvania. My other brother, who is a care pastor (of the elderly) for his church in Greenville, South Carolina, has separate living quarters in his home that was built especially for his aging mother-in-law. His house is uncluttered and handicap accessible. His wife and unmarried daughter are also in the house to help care for my Mother. He and his wife are very savvy in dealing with doctors, appointments, and keeping track of medications. My brother in Pennsylvania is not. He loves my Mother and does the best he can but he isn't equipped to deal with my Mother's worsening condition.

I have a room and bathroom for my Mother in my house (built with her in mind) but my facilities are not as extensive as my brother's home in South Carolina. Plus, I just don't have the patience that he does. I'm more like my father in that respect, sad to say.

I have several friends of my age who are caring for their aged mothers and they have similar challenges. We all do what we can and hope for the best. The most important thing is to make our parents' remaining years as stress free and comfortable as possible.

Thank you again for sharing your story. I always appreciate your comments. You are a good friend.