Moving out of state, away from aging parents.

Started by

I am a 45 year old married man. My wife and I have two adopted children, ages 13 and 15. We have been living in Minneapolis, MN for 12 years. My parents live about 6 miles from us. They're 69 and 71 and fully self-sufficient; although signs of future medical conditions are beginning to show. My wife's parents live in New York. My dilemma is this. My wife and I would like to move to Sacramento, CA. I grew up in Sacramento and miss the weather and being close to the ocean, mountains, and cities. I have no sibblings to look after my parents if we move and we'd also be 1800 miles further from her parents. Am I being selfish in wanting something different for my family? Or should I just suck it up and stay (unhappily) in Minnesota?


By all means move to CA and enjoy life with you're family! You're parents are responsible for preparing themselves for their senior years, not you. Good luck and have a wonderful future.
What?!! You'd leave Minnesota to live in California? I can't imagine why, but, hey if that is what you want, go for it.

I should also say that when I approached my parents about the posibility of moving, they got very upset. My dad said that I would hurt them very, very much and my mother said she already felt "so alone". Just don't know what to do. I don't want to hurt them. But I also realize that (scientifically) we only have one life.
The 15 yr old is probably going to be pissy about the move as 15 is a most selfish self-centered age. But they will adapt as will your & your wife's parents.
Buy a boat too and get those kids on the water.
I think you should do what you want to do. But do it from your heart whatever you would think is right. To me they are your parents and they were there for you when you was a child and I'm sure through your teen years. so give a little back if it don't hurt.
Southwest has some one-stop flights from MInneapolis to Sacramento for under $250.00 if that helps any.

I hated long distance caregiving. BUT, you are pretty young to just stick around *just* in case something happens that results in caregiving needs in the future. You will have options to move back closer, to bring them closer to you, or to rack up frequent flier points, but I don't see it as truly horrible to cross that bridge when you come to it. But its a tough decision - will the kids miss their grandparents being practically next door? How much do you hate Minneapolis? I have visited and think its a pretty neat town myself, but then I visited in the summer. I did trips from Little Rock AR to PIttsburgh PA every 6-8 weeks, alternating car and air, for about 3 years, rather than uproot myself and my family when I faced that unwelcome dilemma. I'll also admit to asking my young adult children to consider moving to Mom's house in Pgh as an alternative but neither took me up on it.
You can't live close to both sets of parents, obviously.

Your parents may live another 20 years or more. Do you think they should dictate where you live for the next 2 decades?

If your parents or your spouse's parents become in need of help in the future, you will have to decide the best way to deal with it at that time. Don't borrow trouble ahead of time. Go, do your own thing.
It is you and your spouse's life you must put first. Your parents can move to be near you later if that is needed. They should be happy for you as you both pursue your dream and enjoy visiting you in your new home. This is your time. Later your kids get to live where they want, right?
Just curious but why have you been living in Minn all this time if you are so unhappy there and your parents have not needed you? back to your question: are you selfish? No. But if you went to the trouble of asking this question, then you must have some concerns about your parents needing help in the future. So you can set them up the best you can before you leave or make plans to bring them to Ca in the future (maybe they want to go back home also). It is very easy to say go live your own life.No, your are not responsible for your parents. But for many, any family connection does mean something, otherwise, why do we need families? In an ideal world children should grow up, create their own families and parents should secure their own future. And the same goes for children, never needing money for the wedding, house down payment, grandchildren care. We should do it all on our own, right? But I personally have never lived in an ideal world so I had to make choices I could live with. Thus I am a caregiver. If your parents have lived there for years, they must have connections and you stated they do not need your help at this time, so why would you feel selfish if you left them? Many children live in the same town and do nothing to help their parents. So, other than being harder to give caregiving long distance, caregiving is caregiving. So you either are going to accept caregiver duties if they ever become needed, long or close distance or you are not.And caregiving doesn't mean they have to live with you. just that you secured them in an appropriate situation that meets their needs. Why are you not concerned about the inlaws?
I'm in a different position than most because a couple of years ago, I was the one who moved away from my family. I'm in my 60s and I left my kids and grand kids to peruse my dreams. We miss one another but it has turned out to be a wonderful move. It is my responsibility to prepare for my old age and my kids and I have discussed it and have a plan in place. If the shoe was on the other foot, I'd support their decision to move if it is what made them happy. Family is important to us and that's why we support each other and that can be done in the same town or miles apart. If any one of us needed anything, we'd be there to help.
The fact your parents have expressed unhappiness is something to consider yubecha. Obviously you care about your parents. Only you know if they'll be able to handle the change and if you'll be happy knowing they can't accept it.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support