My parents moved from their forever home to an assisted living center in the Minnesota town where I live 6 years ago. I have financial/medical POA and my only sibling does not live close enough to be of help. They get meals & housekeeping, but rely on me for everything else. I do their laundry, refill their meds, handle all their finances, take them to all their medical appointments, etc... Mom is 92 with progressing dementia. Dad 89 feels like he cant leave her alone for more than a couple hours. I am there 1-2 times a week and my dad constantly remarks that he doesn't know what he would do without me. Now my husband & I are ready to retire and would like to live out our dream of moving to Florida, but I am devastated & guilt ridden with the idea of leaving them. How do I enjoy my own senior life when I am responsible for my parents'?

My mother is in the Memory Care section of an ALF and I am an only child. I do not feel as though I can leave her there and move to another state, even though her medications are managed and her doctor(s) come into the facility to treat her. I am planning to wait for her to pass away before my husband and I can move away and start our own retirement plans.

Of course you can put your parents on the medication program at their ALF, you can also arrange for them to see the on site doctors who come in as well as the mobile dentists, etc. You can Face Time them, as suggested, and/or hire a geriatric care manager. But there will be times you will need to fly back for emergencies and other events that need your attention. That's my take on the situation and something I feel I'd need to do myself, should I move away.

There is no 'easy answer' here, as I'm sure you know. As much care as they're given in the ALF, they still require regular visits from us.

Wishing you the best of luck!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to lealonnie1

How far have you got with planning the dream move to Florida? Is this imminent - something you see happening this year, say? Or is it more in the pipeline, or even further away and a mere castle in the air for the time being?

You haven't gone yet, anyway! - so it's a little premature to be devastated and guilt-ridden. But there are difficulties.

Did your parents, with or without your knowledge and approval, move to your town in order to be near you?

When you accepted POA, were you and they counting on your being within practical distance?

When did you and DH begin to formulate the Florida dream, and is this something you've ever talked to your parents about?
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Reply to Countrymouse

I’ve had to deal with this since day 1 as I live in the US and my parents were in Europe. Only child. Mother with personality disorder (narcissistic) who has tried to destroy everything I have done.

She is now in a retirement home (some nifty pivoting around the fact that she was falling at home and she could not have lived with one single caretaker (which she wanted to be me and demanded I abandon my family though that was never going to happen) ‘because one person can’t pick you up if you fall’ meant she had to leave home and be somewhere with 24 hr care. Dad died a few years ago. She told incredible lies to kick him out of the house when in fact he was able to stay there according to all his docs and support people.

If you get on with your parents this is a harder decision.


We have only 1 life. You don’t get a rerun once they are dead. Sacrificing yourself for them and thinking of Florida is not going to help your rel with them. They may live many more years. Better you visit every few mths and be happy than resent them every day.

As others have said. The retirement home can prob take over most of your duties. Look inside yourself if there are reasons you need to change within yourself to make you accept the way things could be.

I went to Europe every couple of months for many years. Expensive. Couldn’t work full time. Always a crisis with my parents and it was just a game to pull my string and get me to go and give them attention. I had POA. Mum tried to get dad declared ‘not of sound mind’ so she could kick him out of the house. I intervened and protected him as he was in his 90s and didn’t want to leave home nor did his docs say he had to. (she’s a vindictive so and so).

All the times I went over. Left my young kids. Didn’t work. Spent a ton of money on them flying, renting a car to get to them etc. It meant NOTHING to them. Inside I think I was trying to get a pat on the back and approval which with Narcissist parents never comes.

Don’t put yourself through this. You don’t get a medal at the end. I’ll never get the 20 years back and my kids will never get a mom who was there for them all the time when they were little.

Now mum is in a home and I just pay the bills from her account. She has Alzheimers and is toxic as ever. In fact there’s a risk of her being kicked out. In that case she is on her own
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Reply to pannacotta8
dianedz Mar 12, 2020
I would look into moving them to Florida ASAP. We are soon to retire in North Carolina from New York. My MIL has Alzheimer’s and resides in a SNF/Memory Care in NY. We found lovely facilities in North Carolina that are $100,000 per year less expensive than Upstate New York! We are moving my MIL.
To add to what WilliMartin says...There are Geriatric Care Managers that do the very thing you need done. They can manage the appointments, they will report to you. Mail order for medications. An mom would probably be better in Memory Care and that would also take some stress off dad. If dad can not manage finances most things can be done by you on line from anywhere in the world!
Yes you might have to make a trip north once in a while but you would probably do that anyway to visit.
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Reply to Grandma1954

Move them to a Florida AL about 20 -30 minutes away from your new Florida retirement home. They might enjoy the change and meet new friends.
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Reply to careinhome

is it possible to move them to Florida? You would have to plan it like the assault on Normandy but it could be done. My in-laws sound similar. She was pretty impaired with ALZ and macular degeneration. He has vascular dementia and thought he was fine. They started in IL. He had a decline so we moved them to a memory care center together. She broke hip in June and died in October. He worried about her and when she broke hip, they were in separate cottages.
anyway, if she is still ok at AL, the other option is get facility to order meds and give them and do the laundry. If facility has doctor, use that doctor for as much care as you can. And if they can’t provide transport to outside providers, get a care manager to help. Then go to Florida for a month. Try it out.
We plan to move to be closer to our daughter once FIL dies. He is 95 and declining rapidly. We still are cleaning out our house so not ready to go yet but if necessary I would consider moving him.
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Reply to dogparkmomma

Live your life. Enjoy your retirement. My mom is 95 with advanced dementia. I have Parkinson’s. We kept her at home until last April paying for care through a LTC policy. When the LTC policy was exhausted we moved her from her condo to an ALF near her home town in FL. In the meantime my husband was diagnosed with 2 stage 4 cancers. We live in Maine but have always spent winters in FL. My husband’s quality of life is diminishing and I have made HIM my priority because mom’s dementia has caused all memories and relationships to drift away and it is my husband who I feel the greatest love and responsibility for. We are currently living life in a used RV, spending our winter in FL...enjoying quiet, peaceful surroundings for the time we have left. I have been FORCED to prioritize. And I am not going to guilt myself over this decision. It’s YOUR life and you don’t get a do-over.
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Reply to Ghuhtamaki
SicilianLady1 Mar 12, 2020
I think you're a wonderful person. Those of us who have taken care of chronically ill parents for years and put out spouses in 2nd place ?  Life is strange.  The spouse may die before our parents and what kind of guilt will we have then?  And some parents were mean as snakes  when these devoted children were young.  Are the children supposed to give up their entire lives because their parents decided to have sex and the children were conceived?  I strongly doubt if one day the parents said to each other "let us give the gift of life to a little girl child tonight". If we were born before reliable birth control existed, we are pretty much all "accidents"!
I'm following this thread closely as I'm in a similar situation. My husband recently retired and we have always planned to move to our beach condo once we were both retired. My dad, however, is 98 1/2 and in an assisted living facility near where we currently live. I've been doing the two weeks in Florida, two weeks at home for the last year. It gets old and then you try to add in a few visits to grandchildren and it seems like no one is very happy with the schedule. I'm trying to cut back on my visits to my father as making the airline trip is not only expensive it means two weeks away for just a few hours with him (a haircut, a doctors appointment, a few breakfasts at the local diner or my house) that he doesn't remember by the next day. But on each phone call he obsesses over when I will be home to visit him (not that he can remember what I said.) Currently we are doing the two day drive back and forth as we don't want to contract coronavirus in the airport or plane. I am planning to pack all our food for the trip and wipe down everything I touch along the way. I realize most of this is my own guilt making me crazy. Moving him to Florida is not an option. My only warning is don't think that if you postpone your move it will only be for a couple more years. Apparently my dad is going to live forever and I have to say that my husband has been a saint through all of this.
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Reply to jkm999
BlackAngel Mar 13, 2020
Amazing how different perspectives can be. To clarify; my Dad 89 will only agree to move my mother (92 with dementia) to 24-hour care if he can go with her, and it is much more expensive than they can afford. This is why I help out with so much, each task the home takes on is another charge, which my dad worries about. Although it is hard on him, his life revolves around my mom. Also, my father has friends who spend time with him. I would never think of moving them. Honestly, they could both live another 10 years. My aunt (also with dementia) has been in memory care for 12 years now. I know I deserve to be happy with what precious time my husband & I will have to follow thru with the retirement we've talked about for the past 15 years. If we wait too long we will become my parents and never see our dream, but it still breaks my heart to think about not being here for my dad...still torn.
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You're in a no-win situation.
I retired and moved to South Carolina, leaving my elderly parents in Pennsylvania. They are 92 and 90, and have lived their entire lives in their community and are NOT leaving it. I can understand how they feel, even though it makes more sense to live here near me. I get tired of people saying "they just have to move". I want them to have some peace and happiness at the end of their lives.
I go to visit every other month and stay for a week or more. I cook their favorite meals, help with any issues that need addressed, and just love on them.
When I return home I'm tormented by what I know they are experiencing. It's great to say "live your life" but my heart aches every day for them, knowing their lives would be better if I was there.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to dana2190
lkdrymom Mar 12, 2020
But would your life be better if you stayed there?
I see only 2 choices.

1 - Move your parents near you wherever you retire.

2 - Set your parents up for more help to take over what you do... and plan for day they need total care. You can probably handle the finances from a distance. The other jobs could probably be handled by home health care aides or by setting your parents up in full care facility.
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Reply to Taarna

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