I was talking with an eighty-seven-year old woman the other day who was trying to decide whether to move to northern Califronia to be close to her children. She said that she loved her neighbors and her house and felt very comfortable in her community. However, she said her children were pressuring her to move closer to them. Both her daughter and son-in-law were making excellent money in the dot-com world and were very busy with their lives. Of coruse, for them it would be much more convenient to have their elderly mother close by, but should she give up the life she loved for their convenience?
I told the woman how much I loved northern Calirfornia and how easy it was to get around, as compared with southern California, where you have to drive everywhere and public transportation is not adequate. The woman said she had a neurological porblem and was afraid if she needed care that she could not rely on her neighbors. Later, when I was home I realized I was wrong in talking so glowingly about northern California. For this woman, it seemed to make much more sense for her to stay in the home she loved and let her daguhter arrange for a caretaker, if she needed one. The daughter could be the one to fly down to check on her mother. I did that every two weeks for five years when my father was in a nursing home, so it can be done even when you work full-time, as I did. I felt I had made a mistake in painting such a good picture of northern California and wished I could have been more supportive of the woman staying in her own home and community. So someone trying to make such a gut-wrenching decision, has to be sure that a move is for you and not for the convenience of your children.