A little over a year ago I retired (at 72) and moved in with my 95-year-old mother in her home, so that she could come home from a dismal assisted living facility.

It has worked out well for both of us. She has thrived at home---she's in wonderful health and cheerful again---and she's so easy to help. She appreciates what I do and she expresses it. I really don't have much to do other than housekeep and cook, coordinate her medical care, make sure she has some pleasure in life. This has also allowed her to live within her income; assisted living was chipping away at her assets.. And living with her has made my retirement financially easier.

But I've been just a little unwell almost from the beginning. I've just come out of an extended hyperthyroid crisis, ending with the radioactive treatment of my thyroid gland, and I'm still exhausted. I know I'm recovering from that, but now an old sciatic nerve pain has come back. I trust that it's temporary, but it will always be there waiting to return.

I function, but just enough to do what's absolutely necessary. Then I'm overwhelmed either by thyroid-related fatigue or by the sciatic pain---or both.

We have agreed it's time to make different plans: prepare the property for sale, dispose of the stuff accumulated during 90 years of family residence in the same home, find an attractive assisted living facility where she can later transition to more extensive care if it's necessary.

It will take at least a year to do this, and of course during that time I need to choose where I will go after the property sells and my mother moved, and what I will do. I'm frightened, because I have a very modest income and retirement fund. I had thought I would be able to supplement my income for several more years, as I did while I was still working, with translations, editorial work, tutoring, etc., but I simply don't have the stamina, physical or mental. I've already had to turn down a few jobs and I know my clients have replaced me. I actually had to withdraw from one job before finishing.

I could use some moral support, so I'm turning to this wise and experienced community. Please help me find the right way to look toward the future.

Love to you all ... Realtime

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Re: Medicare and psychiatric help. It is such a hassle! I have an appointment on Monday with my PCP, and hope she'll have a good suggestion. (The psychiatrist she suggested has moved away.) I don't want more talk therapy --- been there again and again, done that again and again --- just someone who will prescribe, supervise and tweak meds. I know that sounds dangerous, but I did discuss it with the PCP, and she seemed to think it was a reasonable approach. I have given talk therapy so many tries that I'd like to give a well thought out program of meds a try. Nothing exotic. Just the right dosage of standard anti-depression anti-anxiety medications. I think I've always been on minimum dosages of the tried and trues --- Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Lexapro. Maybe I need a combination? Has anything worked particularly well for any of you?

Pam, vstefans, FF, thanks to you all. Pam, rather than a retirement community, I'm thinking about a rental apartment (NEVER want the responsibilities of ownership again) near my daughter. My mother gets depressed when she's surrounded by "old people" --- and so do I. My daughter lives in a lively urban community, so it wouldn't be hard to come by the services we need. In fact, we have a wonderful "in" to services, in that the sweet wife of my ex-husband is a consulting nurse who took care of his mother at home until she died, and she knows where to look for everything!

Vstefans, I'll remember your comments if we get down to formal negotiations with Mama's potential buyer. The rent-back option looks best to me, particularly since they're talking about a "nominal" rent. This particular situation is probably almost unique --- the interested party is the daughter of close friends who live next door, and just sold their home under a similar arrangement. And although their house is worth a lot more than ours, at any rate their recent sale will keep us all realistic about values, and also about structuring such an arrangement.

FF, yes the screen doors are wood --- they're held together by metal plates and screws that my father patched them with while he was still alive and they now have two different kinds of screen in them, as well as a couple of wood panels. Now that we're talking about selling, I realized that I don't need to replace them --- just replace the hardware that's falling off.

The problem (constantly frustrating) is finding a reliable handyman. It seems as if the good handymen are setting up as small contractors and have more work than they can do subbing to the big guys. The odd job men can't do much more than pound in a nail, and even I can do that. Initially I got estimates and tried to choose the best deal; now all I hope to do is find someone competent and trust him to be fair on price. I'm expecting a call-back and hoping for the best from the latest candidate.

Old houses are hell. Particularly since my father did much of the work on this house. When we moved in (I was 3 years old, seventy years ago) it was just a shell --- exposed beams and rafters, studs, lathe and plaster --- with no indoor plumbing and minimal electricity. My father was a civil servant, not skilled in home construction; he just followed the instructions in Popular Mechanics and hoped for the best. Considering everything, he did a remarkable job --- built stairs, installed everything that didn't require a license and some things that did --- but some of his "renovations" aren't as sound as the original structure, and he did a lot on the cheap. Also, the main "renovations" also date mostly to the 1970s (UGLY wall paneling, etc.) He wasn't good at imagining future needs --- it was as if he thought that once done, it was done for always, and I guess it was fo rhim. He put the baseboards down on top of the (shag) downstairs carpet. When we had an interior flood a few years ago we had to rip out the old carpet and there's still a border of red shag around the edges, since we haven't been able to get it out from under the baseboards without removing them. (A young man with the crew that took out the carpet was so impressed by the carpet --- he kept saying things like, "Man, this is authentic shag, man, this is really authentic vintage antique shag carpeting!") (At least it wasn't orange or avocado green --- it was a nice cherry red.) And tastes have changed. For my mother, carpeting was a big step up. Now, everyone loves the original heart pine floors. I'm hoping to find there's still heart pine under the plywood my father laid down when he turned the attic into a real living area upstairs. Even if we have to price the house as a near-atear down, I'm thinking we can ask for the current value of the heart pine construction as salvage. FF, do you have an opinion on that?

(The kid who took out the shag was a real sweetie. I couldn't help apologizing for a clutter and congestion of the house --- all my mother's ugly furniture and knickknacks --- but he said, "It looks like a grandmother's home. I like it.")

Love to all of you...

Mulata, I responded to some of your comments in my last two posts. Thank you, thank you for the information on TRADOS and other software. That was very helpful. If I'm able to resurrect my really good former client, the function of finding previously used vocabulary would be invaluable, since a lot of the work involved semiannual updates to their very, very extensive web page. I'm curious what you do when the language of origin is really badly organized, imprecise or badly written, or un-English ("in reference to your gracious missive of the 20th instant I take my pen in hand ... para sirvirle, etc.) One effect of rewriting was that the word count usually dropped way down compared to the source, and I felt I was losing money when I charged by the word. I sometimes averaged the source and final word count, with the client's permission --- particularly since I often edited out chunks of repetition --- to reflect the editing service.

With my main client, I had free rein to rewrite and re-conceptualize, as long as I highlighted what I had done --- but it was unwieldy. When I used track changes, it often got very hard to read. Since the English of the people preparing the texts for publication was sometimes shaky I worried about their understanding (and validating) what I had done.

By the way, your screen name enchants me. Every time I read it I think of Agustin Lara -- "piénsalo bién, Mulata." I had lunch in a good local Mexican restaurant yesterday and deplored the music that was playing. The food is surprisingly "authentic" for a community like this one, but the decor and ambience are a combination of random sombreros and Latino hip hop. I wish I could eat to the sound of Lara and the trova yucateca. I wonder if anyone up here listens to them at all. (I wonder if they're disappearing from restaurants and bars in Mexico. My boyfriend was quite a bit older than I, and we tended to visit the haunts of his youth.) I think "La Ronda" is my favorite Lara song.

As I mentioned to GardenArtist, I'm lucky that I don't have to make a lot of money by translations. For now, just a few hundred extra dollars a month to avoid cutting into my retirement fund and staying within my budget. No, I don't do interpretation. I admire anyone who can do interpretations, particularly simultaneous interpretation. I had some experience in Mexico with international seminars, and was so impressed by what the interpreters were able to do, whichever direction they interpreted in. I recently had a very small experience in translating Spanish poetry to English --- just a couple of poems in a memoir I translated to English for a woman who wanted to share her experience with cancer with her English-speaking friends. I loved doing it but it was very, very hard.

Oh, yes, by all means let's "talk." You're the first person I've met since I got back that does this.

If I can get back my old client, I probably won't look any further afield. It kept me as busy as I wanted to be ---- and I have less freedom now than I did then. I love the image of your mother creeping into view on camera while you worked!

(I hope other readers don't see this as hijacking a thread!)

GardenArtist, To continue, I'm interested in tutoring because it would get me out of the house and into the community. And if could get tutees to come here to the house sometimes --- sit on the front porch looking at the porpoises and working --- my mother would love the presence of young folks in the house. My only experience in academic tutoring --- but I think I could leverage it --- was with my recently graduated grandson and a couple of his friends at college. Writing was a challenge for them, as it is for so many youngsters. I critiqued their papers, sent them back to the drawing boards (sometimes the night before the paper was due --- kids!) drilled down on their biggest "issues." These young men attended a pretty rigorous school. I had to slap my own wrists to avoid doing their work for them, and I think I succeeded. This was an extension of mentoring I had done for many years with young consultants when I worked in business consulting. (Report writing was agony for many at the start.)

I also adore history (I have an undergrad degree in British civilization and a master's with an emphasis in Latin American studies). There's a minor 4-year college in this community --- very little in the arts or humanities, unfortunately, because it grew out of a trade school --- but three high-quality high schools. Tutoring would require more planning and self-education than translating/writing, but I could probably get something going. What scares me about tutoring, especially given my recent history of not-getting-things-done, is the responsibility to other people.

I don't feel qualified to tutor Spanish, since I learned it as an adult on the job/in the community; although my Spanish is rich and fluent it's not always strictly correct (I'm weak on subjunctives and conditionals) (that's why I don't do English-to-Spanish translations, Mulata).

But the college has a nice lifelong learning program for active adults. I'm thinking (thank you, both GardenArtist and Mulata) about putting together a proposal for a short course on the lines of "what you really ought to know about Mexico" for people in this small community with a growing Latino, mostly Mexican, partly undocumented population. I see several short courses in the college catalog that are clearly reflections of the instructors' personal passions. (I hope to take some of them --- wine tasting, for instance.)

If only I could trust myself!

GardenArtist, I do love your handle. Gardening must be your passion. Do you do vegetables only, or the whole range of growing things? My mother loves to go outside with her Rollator and inspect the shrubs, count the blossoms, pot an occasional plant. I was ambitious when I got here --- spent my first summer back rooting shrubs from old ones and replanting --- but I've scaled back to container gardens on the porches now. My mother can participate more easily. My best plant right now: a huge pot of squash blossoms. Wash and shred the flowers, saute lightly in butter with a bit of garlic and chopped chilis, and either serve as a vegetable or tuck into a small tortilla and fry in oil.

I really appreciate the time you took to write about getting back into the labor force. (You, too, Mulata!) When I still had an active translation sideline, I mostly did business documents --- made Mexican web pages, proposals, etc., readable and persuasive for the English-speaking market. This was a bit of a two-step process: I translated for accurate meaning and then, if necessary, reorganized and rewrote for more colloquial English-language flow and naturalness. Because it was a hybrid of translation and editing/writing, I charged by the hour. It was a good small side business at a time when I had a low-stress full-time job in another field, with down time. Obviously, I translated for folks who already knew me well, for whom I had worked in other capacities when I was still in the Mexican labor force. I'm afraid they have replaced me, but I suspect they could still use me if they haven't lost faith in my responsiveness. I sort of dropped off their radar without much discussion about a year ago. I never even billed them for the last job I did, and it was worth a couple of thousand dollars!

GardenArtist, as I worked my way through my own cash flow forecast for the next few years, I realized that I really didn't need to make much additional money as long as I was still living with my mother. Considering that I probably have between a year and a year and a half before I have to change paths, I should be able to meet a reasonable income goal, start rebuilding my savings. By the time I need to get serious (-er), if I stick to your critical path method, I should have ducks in a row.

The key, of course, is having the motivation to stick to it. That's where I've had such a big problem in the last year. I know that I've been deeply depressed, as well as physically below par, and that is probably more fundamental to my problem than the actual work-finding process. Reading your comments and suggestions, I feel a lot more motivated, have been able to stick to things a little better for several days. Several days do not a reformed life make. So...

Isn't it interesting how business methods can flip over to private life? I'm trying to mesh your critical path with my "pressure points." One thing that concerns me is that when I drill down on goals and decisions, I tend to run roughshod over my mother's issues. She's suggestible, and looks to me and my brother for guidance, and I'm fearful of not balancing my own needs with hers. I know I have to take care of myself to take care of her, but at the same time I want to be careful. Here and now, she has pretty much decided to do something --- sell --- that she's spent her life saying she'd never do. Am I being fair? Kind? Objective? I have to mull that over.

Since I lost two previous versions of this message, I'm going to post now. More later.

Medicare does pay for psychiatrists and therapists.
It is just that they pay so poorly, no psychiatrist wants or needs a Medicare patient. It is becoming more rare to be able to find one who accepts Medicare.

I could be wrong-it has been a long time ago.

FF, I had a therapist that specializes in caregiver issues, one of the being health insurance. Naturally I had told her about my crazy caregiving situation. He normal rate was $120.00 an hour. She discounted 50% for me because I did not have insurance, and I always paid her in cash.

FF, some nursing homes have consulting shrinks. I'm sure they accept Medicare. In fact, I'm wondering if the AL facility where your father is living has one.

FreqFlyer...........I had no idea Medicare would not cover ??? WHY??? Is it a cosmetic phase you are going thru??? GRRRRRR!!!

I am going to open a new GRRRR moment.........or my GGRRR life............

I am sorry, but, keep searching..............there has to be someone. Or do like my hubby's dad-in-law............he had a huge medical bill and he paid them FIFTY CENTS A MONTH.......................but he was paying so he could not be taken to collections, that was funny............

Keep up the good work; I know you are thorough, organized and resourceful. Hugs my friend, many hugs,


Realtime, that is a great option to do a rent-back. That way the Buyer can purchase the house and have it as an income producing property, and in the mean time do whatever repairs are needed and write-off those repairs against the income. Perfect :) That way when the Buyers eventually move in, the house will be updated.

Are the screen doors wooden? I have one.... that reminds me I need to tighten up the coil that runs from one corner on top down to the other corner on the bottom as the door isn't closing correctly. I do like the wham sound it makes... so old fashioned.

Realtime, oh my gosh, I am just running into the issue of also trying to find a psychiatrist or therapist who accepts Medicare.... like, what is up with that? This is a time when us caregivers who are senior citizens need talk therapy and these doctors won't take Medicare, nor my secondary insurance United Health.

I called my primary doctor and told her oops we have a problem... as I do not want to pay out of pocket $150 per session. So the search is still on to find someone who will take Medicare.

Oh, Lord, I've hit the wrong key twice now and lost my reply to Garden Artist! I'll try again later. Mulata, thanks for your helpful note. I'll be responding to you along with GA.

Downsizing and un-hoarding sounds great. That particular place you described does not sound like a really good fit - it's worth looking around a little more. Here's hoping your health and well being take a turn for the better as you go through all this and have more hope for an easier life and a better time of it... But, on a cautionary note, do be careful about the life interest buyer -and take pains to see that it is all on the up and up, with a lawyer who has YOUR and YOUR MOM's interests in mind.

i was thinking what Blackhole said. maybe a retirement community where you could still be together, with lower cost and no maintence?

Well.........I do have a PC. Manual typewriter stayed behind in Mexico. . . Bought it for my sibling in 1968 and MOM worked her translations on it, fast and furiously until about 2001, when the Internet killed all the "home based translators without computers"........................... Ah, ok, that is another topic for the WHINE thread.

Call the Wah, Wah, Wah, Wahmbulance! (Quote from the movie, Bruce Willis "THE KID").

Ok, here I am, now we are "cooking with gas".......hehe.

This is a continuation of the above pros, and it applies only to TRANSLATION, not interpreting.
Translation = Written language conversion
Interpreting = VERBAL language conversion

Realtime, can you do both, or only one?

Ok, so, when I started caring for mom, I was doing Telephonic Interpretation, also known in the industry as OPI. You'll need this term to google companies that are doing OPI, and perhaps hiring. THE PROBLEM: I could not watch mom fully because I had the headset on, and very important critical information going back and forth... at one point I landed a good contract doing VRI = Video Remote Interpretation, that paid quite well!!!, BUT mom would be looking for me, and one time the camera ALMOST caught her looking for me in the office.......I knew then that phase of my interpreting career was over. So.....since I cannot really leave her alone because she is FRIGHTENED out of her skin every time I do, then I decided to switch to:

I have been doing translation work for at least 15+ years. So, I know the trade well. However, since there are TOO MANY SPANISH translators, the rate they want to pay per word is ridiculously LOW..........and too many translators accepting those low rates make it so hard for the rest of us.
Last year, 2015, I reached out to 135 outfits that are either Translation AGENCIES, or even private parties thru LinkedIn, and I was pretty busy. Besides word-of-mouth referrals, which are the most welcomed and the most profitable.
Got so busy that my stress levels were thru the roof. Hubby said: NO MORE WORK in 2016.................I said what????!?!?!?!?!?!?! I was stretched like a rubberband, in a lousy mood, with deadlines that are downright ridiculous, and this is the biggest CON: You have to pay TOO much SELF employment TAXES. So, work your fingers to the bone, fast, correctly, edit, proof, proof again, correct - and .33% in my State goes to taxes. NO good.

Now, we face the problem, or perhaps not a problem of Machine Translation. Personally, those are garbage. And agencies want to pay one cent per word for you to FIX IT ALL. No! I don't do machine translation repair.

Then you have the agencies that will accept working with you, ONLY if you own certain software, example: SDL Trados, Wordfast, and gadzillions more. If you don't own the software, forget about getting work. To get the software, which an extremely high percentage of translators do own ( I have SDL Trados 2011 ), is quite expensive, but it is worth it. What does it do? It keeps the format of the original, IN WORD, --- no it does NOT read PDF's, no matter how many times you throw yourself on the floor kicking and screaming.
So, you get a document in word, open it with Trados, the window will show 2 columns, the original language and next to it a blank line for you to type the target language, or translated equivalent. Why do we need this? It keeps all your translated entries in the MEMORY............and voilá, when you get the same terminology in the future, Trados will prompt you to CHOOSE in which way do you want to translate that term, since it could have SEVERAL options.
It is pretty cool.

Then, you have your clients that want it yesterday, and pay NEVER.

Yes, you can live on this kind of income if you devote FULL TIME hours, and to change up the monotony, do some OPI = Over Phone Interpretation........................................

How am I doing in 2016, and not working?, Not sending résumés, not banging on anyone´s door...............I have gotten zero work. ZERO.
Hubby said: IF you do get work, do what you get. DO NOT SEARCH for it, we can make it on my income.....................which is his Social Security because he retired last December.

Believe it or not, my mom was an English teacher, ESL, in Mexico for many years. Also a Medical Journal Translator for the University. Manual Brother typewriter, and VERY GOOD at it! I must have it my DNA. THANKS MOM!!!!!!!!!

So, realtime, let´s talk shop, what do you have in mind?

M 8 8

I happen to be a translator, and interpreter. English to Spanish.
Pros and Cons

● self employed
● own schedule, work from home -Internet savvy
● able to watch mom

Lemme go to my pc, gotta type this one not on tablet, ok?

Freqflyer, The wonderful thing about the possible buyers is that they're flexible. Another possibility that was brought up is that they would buy the house, go ahead with essential repairs and such, but rent it back to us during the clearing-out and transition. That might be a "cleaner" option than a life estate. Of course this is all just in the what-if stage --- it might come to nothing --- but at least, it shows that there are possibilities other than an abrupt sale and move. And it would make my mother happy to know that they cherish the house. We plan to go ahead with a professional appraisal to try to set a baseline on price.

Thinking "out loud" --- that is, writing about the situation --- is helpful because it clarifies things. I've been spinning my wheels on repairs and maintenance. Now that Mama is clearer that she wants to sell, it simplifies things. For instance, now I don't have to replace the two screen doors (which are battered and patched) but just replace the broken springs and hinges --- do enough that they open, close and lock properly. Such a relief, since they were non-standard sizes, no longer available, and the repairman would have had to improvise insets to the door frames. Other repairs can likewise be stepped down or back to the minimum necessary for health and safety --- just enough to get us through a year or so.

Gardenartist, I'm taking your suggestions to heart. More later.

Realtime, oh my gosh a 1920's beach house :) I just love those type of older homes. Even if the inside is a time warp. Let's see, a Buyer willing to buy the house and give your Mom "life estate use'. That can be complicated. With life use that means even if your Mom moves to a continuing care facility, she stills has life use, thus the house would remain empty, unless your Mom rents the property to someone else, until she passed. The Buyer [new owner] owns the property but does not pay the taxes, insurance, nor does any maintenance/repairs. Usually "life estates" are done within a family. Best to check with a real estate attorney before agreeing to this.

How I wished my parents would have planned better for their very golden years... they did plan financially... BUT I wished they would have done the "what ifs"... such as what if they can no longer drive... what if they can no longer deal with all the stairs in their house.... what if Mom isn't able to do the housework... what if Dad isn't able to work on the honey-do list. They never thought what if their only child [me] couldn't help them.

Oh how I wished I could have confided in my primary doctor years ago saying I need help dealing with all of this... but in my mind I thought I could handle everything as I was great with logistical stuff. The emotional stuff never entered my mind until right now. I know exactly what you mean when you wrote "ready to throw myself on the floor in the reception area of the county health service and drum my heels on the floor". Don't you feel like a caged Lion?

Re: the nice ALF I visited with my mother in mind. Reflecting on the visit, I realize that the facility had drawbacks, despite being very pretty and clean. It's assisted living, not memory care, but...I suppose it's inevitable that such places will accept folks with declining cognition. Everyone was clean, nicely put together and reasonably cheerful, but more than one of the residents had some degree of dementia. Consequently, it's a locked facility. It has a nice front porch with rocking chairs, and a lovely enclosed garden --- but residents have to ask to be let in and out. My mother would absolutely hate that! I remember now that no one was on the porch or in the garden; they were sitting in a line --- in attractive easy chairs, yes, but... --- just watching television. And the television set dominates the common area. My mother doesn't watch television. There were few places to escape the television other than the rooms and the locked off porch and garden. Also, the administrator was pretty crisp with the residents, while the activities director was a sweet, pretty 12-year-old. At least that's how old she looked. The activities schedule was heavy on bingo, simple crafts and church services. Not my mother's cup of tea. (Glass of wine?) The promotional video had shown people playing blackjack with a volunteer professional dealer and strolling beside a lake --- obviously, other facilities in the chain. Gotta keep looking.

Gardenartist, you have given me a lot to think about. More later.

Freqflyer, Thanks for your reply. I'm a little calmer today, after a July 4 cookout at the neighbors' house, where I was able to chat with another guest who had back surgery last year after many months of sciatic pain --- a minister, who described how hard it had been to incline his body to give communion while in pain. His surgery was successful and he was full of praise for his surgeon --- a couple of other guests chimed in to add their own compliments to the same surgeon, and to point out that in other cases, he gave them non-surgical alternatives that worked for them. So...I'm going to try to set up an appointment today! I'm sorry you're still recovering from the broken shoulder (and consequent stress). That's a long time to feel bad. I hope the meds and talk work for you. I'm looking for a psychiatrist who accepts Medicare ---- BIG problem to find. I'm about ready to throw myself on the floor in the reception area of the county health service and drum my heels on the floor. I've done talk therapy again and again all my life, and have concluded I need a psychiatrist who will work with me on meds to blast through this intransigent depression/anxiety. I wonder if anyone else has some insight into getting treatment in a day and time when mental health services seem to be strained to the limit, and no one wants to take Medicare.

Congratulations on selling the house! Boy, do I sympathize. I sold my own house last year before moving in with my mother. I had a buyer within two weeks --- very lucky indeed --- but the inspections turned up many little and big problems that I hadn't anticipated. In the end, I had to spend money to make money --- fortunately, I had made a very good buy ten years earlier, and came out ahead.

My mother has been approached by a possible buyer who is willing to give my mother a life interest. Can you imagine anything better??!! Obviously that would be reflected in the price --- we'll have to see by how much $$$. (It's a "restorable" 1920s beach house --- nothing special, but the young folks like this kind of thing.)

BlackHole, thanks for your suggestion. I asked my daughter to keep an eye on economically priced rental apartments near her. She lives in a state with a lower cost of living, so it might be an option. I am almost sure that we will be moving out of this area if my mother sells --- it's expensive, and although my mother has lived here most of her life, she has only a couple of friends left, doesn't attend church, doesn't have any important social activities. Our ties to the community are dwindling. I like the idea of starting over someplace new --- too much history here, and there would be the sadness of seeing someone else in the old family home. I kind of like the idea of being forced to downsize. I've been carting stuff with me through several long-distance moves and's getting heavy.

Realtime, you are in familiar territory; others here have written about job hunting and life post-caregiving. And the time to plan is now, but the deadlines don’t need to be as soon or as critical to be flexible and avoid creating stress in the whole process.

I think this kind of planning is something that would be helpful for anyone entering the caregiving field, as a guidebook & inspiration for long term goals to implement along the various paths of caregiving.

Your post really motivated me and mirrors my own situation in many ways. I used to be able to conceptualize mentally but now I find it more helpful (and soothing) to separate the work, caregiving, house, relaxation, self preservation and other main projects - otherwise they tend to negate each other because they all seem to compete for priority.

I'm breaking apart my response so it isn't too long to read (hah!).

1. Job Hunting and Re-Introduction into the Work Force.

If you're not already familiar with this (and I suspect you might be), do some research on a project management technique called Critical Path Management. It’s a tool used by companies to break down a project into time critical and not as time critical tasks, the relationship between the two as well as supportive activities, scheduling, resources, and what’s known as a work breakdown structure.

It helps not only in the thinking and analytical process, but also in keeping things in perspective. If it does become overwhelming, take a break, and think about how challenging it must be for something like a NASA project. That's when I realize my own planning is a lot easier - Piece of cake compared to planning and executing a successful launch!

An example:

It’s clear to me from your post that you’ve done work like this; the difference now is that your stressors are different, and it would probably be easier to conceptualize it on paper than in your head. Plus it can be relaxing.

You stated interest in translations, editorial work, and tutoring. As one example, let’s just start with that. Under each would be a category for researching the market, online and locally, the sources which you would contact, issues with having been out of the workforce, methods of how to segue back into the workforce, etc.

I don’t know what your translation skills are, but the UN comes to mind. I don’t know if it contracts out translation work, but it’s worth an effort to find out. Scientific publications sometimes are translated into other languages. I don't know if local embassies have this need or have their own staff of translators; that's another possibility.

There’s also the opportunity to combine translation skills & tutoring.

Manuals, especially technical manuals or manuals for work equipment also come to mind.

I can easily tell when a manual wasn't written by a native English speaker. The technical terms are wrong, the instructions don't make sense, and sometimes the manuals are worthless. I've seen this with electronics for consumer use. And either translating or spiffing up to create legibility, perhaps interfacing with technical staff, could easily be done from home.

On that subject, contact universities and community colleges regarding tutoring opportunities. I tutored French while taking some community college courses. The salary was low but the experience was far more valuable than the salary. From there I considered moving into private tutoring.

You might consider contacting colleges or even high schools that are focusing on STEM curricula; there might be a need for tutoring in languages, given that the focus there would be on the STEM courses.

Some communities have ESL courses. If you know those languages and could teach ESL, they’re generally in adult ed or continuing ed curricula; your schedule could be flexible.

And all of this could be enhancing your resume.

If there are foreign language groups which meet at book stores (as Borders used to sponsor), consider joining them to refresh your speaking skills in languages.

These all fit into categories of goals and supporting research/tasks. And it wouldn't be that time consuming to memorialize them in writing, knowing that you can "color" in the task nodes as you complete them and view your progress.

Perhaps an income-graded "over 55" apartment can be your next stop? Contact your county to find out where these buildings are. Do some independent to residents. (In nice weather, folks are always out front on a bench!) If you like what you see, ask management how long the waiting list is. Better to get on the list too early, rather than too late. Good luck! Big stuff ahead. But you & your mom have the right attitude. Keep plugging away.

Realtime, reading your posts reminds me of what I have been doing. With parent(s) living longer here we are in our 70's trying to care for someone much older. I know my parents where in denial about my own age.

I started this journey seven years ago once my parents stopped driving.... thus it was me driving Ms. Daisy and her husband [my Dad], and the stress from that became so overwhelming after all these years that I am scared silly to drive anywhere. Plus I had a bout with breast cancer a year after my parents started depending on me [no markers, surgeon said stress caused it]..... last year broke my shoulder and needed 6 months of physical therapy so I could write, eat, get dressed [my parents didn't like being home bound for 6 months, refused to use a taxi], and today I am a nervous wreck. Hopefully calming meds and talk therapy will help me.

Also dealing with an empty house which thankfully is under contract not that far off from the appraisal price that I had done prior to listing it. Sold "as is" but when I found water in the basement I had to become Columbo and try to search the sources. Plus I need to call Salvation Army or some donation site to pick up the rest of the furniture. Will donate to a hospital rummage sale decades of expensive glass ware that my Mom had collected [and so did I, same pattern].

Oh, about selling the house. I was lucky that my Dad wanted to sell immediately after my Mom had passed. This has to do with capital gains taxes. If Dad waited more than two years, the IRS would only allow him to use the $250k deduction for capital gains on home sales. Right now he can still use $500k.

Now, what do I do for myself? Once I get my parent's house to closing, I need to start tossing things from my house. I want to downsize but my sig other doesn't [so common]. My Dad wanted to move but my Mom didn't.

Churchmouse, I'm so happy to get your thoughts. I always enjoy your insights on this forum. You reassure me that I'm in familiar territory. If you're giving it until next spring, you and I will be similar schedules. A lot can happen in that time, and if we're smart, we'll be better able to see our ways clearly. I think I'll try to concentrate on getting my ducks in a row and not worry so much about all the stuff I can't foresee. I'd be interested in hearing what practical steps you take to move forward. I gather you're in England, so things aren't exactly the same for us (viva la Brexit?), but for that matter, they'd be radically different for me if we lived in New York (for instance) instead of Florida. More urgent because of the higher cost of living/cost of inaction in NY.

Yesterday I started by visiting a local ALF that my mother might like; it was on the pricey side, but very pleasant --- 16 residents in what looks like a big private home with 16 bedrooms. If she were to go there, I'd need to find a place of my own, but at least it would be in a familiar area.

I also talked to my out-of-state daughter about the availability of ALFs near her, where both my mother and I could enjoy her company and my grandkids'. Considering my mother's good health, my daughter suggested that we also look at finding an apartment for the two of us near her, at least until my mother needs more help than we can find for her while at home. (Thank God my daughter and her husband are darlings!) Yes, it might be possible to keep my mother at home longer with outside help, as long as she doesn't need skilled nursing. (We already have a monthly cleaning lady and a yard service. But more help would put her in income-deficit territory, and we'd still need to sell the house and move.)

That's a big deal because the house is deteriorating so fast. My father kept it in reasonable repair while he was alive, overseeing urgent repairs into his 90s, but it's 90 years old, wood construction, on the waterfront so dampness and wind are issues--- it may not be salable except as a teardown much longer. We already need to spend about $30,000 to replace the old seawall, and I'm terrified about what may be going on with the wiring and plumbing. (We've had two water pipes rupture in the last couple of years.)

Whatever we do that's different from what we're doing, it probably hinges on selling my mother's property, so I suppose I need to put most of my effort into getting the place ready for sale. Some time ago I started visiting estate sales, both to get an idea of what my mother's (and my) stuff is worth, and to see how efficient the different estate sellers are. If I'm working on a year's calendar, I might also explore how to sell things on EBay, where I might do better for my mother than through an estate sale.

I started seriously yesterday digging into my own financial papers, trying both to organize and dispose, and to see how I can improve my budgeting and planning. Some time ago I created spreadsheets for budgeting and cost control, but I've let them slide, and left money on the table that I won't be able to recover now. I feel so dumb.

Still I find that doing something --- anything --- helps lift the fog a little bit.

If it just weren't for this damned sciatica...Here I am feeling mildly motivated, and I can't even shift a cardboard box from floor to table top! I had hoped to find a strong teenager for odd jobs like that, but haven't had much luck. This is a sparsely populated area, somewhat iffy neighbors, and I'd prefer not to have unknown kids seeing how alone we are, and what pretty things Mama has in the house.

Once upon a time I worked in strategic planning. At that time, the fashion was to identify "critical success factors" in the business --- half a dozen operational pressure points, which, if you pressed them consistently, would get you where you wanted to be. I sort of ID'd a few CSFs to work with: organization and disposal, monetization, alternate living options, property's a little overwhelming but maybe it's a useful approach. If I'm consistent.

BTW, my brother is sympathetic and willing to help, but he lives six hours away and has a demanding job. He does a lot by taking my mother on her annual month's vacation (where they are now), giving me a break. He's planning to take charge of disposing of one of our collapsing out-buildings and its contents, which is one of the prerequisites to selling the property. (My parents saved everything; the building is full of boxes of the grandkids' clothes --- up to 50 years old! Broken furniture. Boxes of dishes that "someone might want." My grandfather's "library" --- ruined by moisture and insects. Saved Christmas wrap. Etc.) I hear about people who clear out their parents' homes loading 4 or 5 dumpsters with stuff. We'll have at least 10.

I'm free associating. Stop! Get ready for church. Thanks, Churchmouse.

Big hugs.

How sensible of you, and how unselfish of your mother, to realise that it is time to move forward and do it without haste.

You do have to do that, do you? It wouldn't be possible to bring in the support you need for your mother's physical needs? I wonder if you have allowed yourself enough time to recover from your treatment, too. Anyway! - I think you and your mother have come to a very practical decision; but after all it's not set in stone.

I share with you considerable apprehension about the future. Post caregiving I am now rebuilding - also self-employed, also needing to woo back a client base. In some ways it is going well and I feel positive; but when I think of the sums involved in later life, and think of my assets and potential income, I wind up pacing the corridor wringing my hands and wailing "what's to become of me...?" like Eliza Doolittle.

I will give it until next spring to see where I've got to. At that point I will add up and see what I can afford and hope it isn't a cardboard box under the railway bridge. Hope it's *more* than that, that is.

But it sounds as if you have planned considerably better and more practically than I have. Have you consulted a personal finance professional for retirement ideas, or looked online?

Hm - I just did, and am about to download a free budget planner designed by a chap called Martin Lewis. He is a bit of a "TV personality" (groan) but his ideas are practical and down to earth. His website also has ideas for boosting your income, but I haven't looked at that yet.

The only other thing I can recommend is a slim paperback called 'The Consolations of Philosophy' by Alain de Bouton. Slightly cheeky title pinch, there, but it's an anthology of ideas that is actually quite consoling. Sort of gather ye rosebuds while ye may, only on a more cosmic scale.

Big hugs.

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