Both of my parents are alive. They have lived all of their retirement years in a house owned by my Wife and I, on the water. They have lived off of military retirment, Social Security and what the water bares them in the form of seafood. It all sounds wonderful, doesn't it?
Too bad life isn't as simple as all of that for us. It has been a long road getting to this point, and it seems it will still be a long road ahead. My Parents landed in our home because we were able and willing to help them. Prior to that, they had been living well, but went bankrupt during one of the real estate collapses. They had borrowed money from us and at least one other sibling, trying to keep afloat until things improved...but they didn't improve, as is evident by the term 'bankrupt'.
After the bankrupcy, between the two of them, my Parents progressed into repeated money management issues, creating more and more debt, often for pleasure purchases. They also progressed into increasing levels of hoarding, from 'someday' projects to 'someday we might need this'. Years ago, it had gotten to the point that we couldn't walk through the wrap-around porch of our house, and sleeping in the guest bedroom was risky, as those piles glared down at you. Never mind the garage and the shed!
August 27, 2011, Hurricane Irene pays a visit. The house is destroyed, along with over 1/2 of the contents. My Parents are losing 'everything' again. To us, much of what was lost was junk they hoarded over the years. To them, well...it's what they have left. We cleaned up and prepared the house to be removed. Cleanup was fun. My Dad was reluctant to let things go, even if it was under water. he knew that the sewage was right there with it.
My Mom couldn't help, as she is all but disabled. She is extremely overweight and has bad knees. She can only get around with a walker for a short time...and is falling constantly. Add to that she has Diabetes, Asthma, slurred speech and is having seizures that the Doctors can't seem to identify the cause for. Recently she was told anxiety. Probably the case, in my opinion. She's already on every pill under the sun, though, including anxiety meds and anti-depresents.
My Wife and I have begun rebuilding our house. In fact, we had planned to build our retirement home here some years down the road, so we are doing it now. The house is bigger. We designed it to have the same number of bedrooms, but a wide-open floor plan and a handicap-accessible bathroom with a 5'x5' shower you can walk into with a walker, wheelchair or scooter. We included a ramp out the back door to the garage, as well.
You have a pretty good picture of the foreground and a few pieces of the background. i need to fill in the background a little more:
My Dad is ex-military. He was very strict and hot-tempered as we were growing up. He is still hot-tempered. He reflects an attitude that says 'somebody owes me', and he projects it onto at least most of my four siblings and I. He has never used the words 'I'm Sorry', at least not in my presence. I've seldomly even heard 'Thank You'. Finally, nothing is ever a good idea unless he came up with it.
He complains about everything...but to friends and neighbors. Unless we bring it up, he says nothing of his complaints. If we bring it up...it becomes and argument, then escalates.
My Mom is relatively passive. Her thing our entire lives was to keep the peace, no matter what (This is probably a good time to admit that I have been alot like my Mother over the years, though I do have some of my Father's stubborness!). She has sat with me and told me many that this is what she does. After a heated argument with my Father a couple days ago she told me she acknowledges the fact that my Father has never thought before he spoke. She learned to just let it go and ignore him. Most of us kids learned the same. However, I can't expect my Wife, our nieghbors and friends to do the same.
I think the main source of frustration for my Mother over recent years is been the fact that her increasing physical limitations make it difficult to impossible to 'keep the peace'. I believe that the physical limitations along with all of these years of looking at the piles of 'stuff' she helped create have greatly contributed to her excessive obeisity and depressive state. I sometimes feel like she's just waiting to die. She is only 75 years old. She should be enjoying her retirement!
After one more heated argument, we are now faced with a decision of possibly not letting my parents move into our house once it's built. This wil be the 2nd time we've arrived here in the past few months. I never wanted my Parent's lives to end this way, yet I don't see any way around it. I'm afraid that when my Mother dies, I'm not going to be able to forgive my Father for the way he treated her. Add to that, none of the kids are willing to accept responsibility for my Father when she does.
So, Now what?