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I am a widowed man turning 87 with increasing physical problems and likely early growing mental impairment. I live alone in a 2600 sq ft, two level home stuffed with possessions. I am evaluating four independent living/extended care communities, all acceptable and affordable, and hope to be in one of them within a year. I have two middle aged single children, a son an hour away in a nearby state and a daughter in a distant state. My son is my power of attorney, will be my executor and is 55, hoping to work for another six year or more..
The problem I would appreciate hearing others opinions is this: Two of the places I’ve looked at are here where I have lived for 17 years, and the other two are in his city. He would, I’m sure, prefer me to check in to one of those close to him. However I am reluctant to commit to such a move – replacing all my doctors and support people, my church, my familiarity with a small town and its resources with starting all over again in a strange, much bigger city in a new state. I expect to need more support from him as I age further, and it will be more difficult for him if I stay here and at my death to serve as executor.
Am I unreasonable to want to stay here?

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With "early growing mental impairment" along with growing physical problems, the sooner you move into a place you like and can trust, the better. Make your choice based on the facility, what services it offers, its reputation, etc., not the facilities location as long as it is within a reasonable driving distance from your son.
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Oh, one more thought. Settling near your son or daughter will save them the pain of having to uproot you in the future and move you when you are unable to tend to yourself, making it harder on everyone. I vote for you're moving within an easy 10 to 15 minute drive to one of your children, anyway. Good luck, no matter what you decide though.
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Take it from someone who's moved plenty of times, Starting in Ohio, to Dallas, to Kansas City, To Joplin and to where we are, with various movies from home to home in many of those towns. The big move will be from out of your house, which you will be doing regardless. I'd say talk with your son and your daughter. Ask them their opinions, push for their honest thoughts.

I'm going against the grain here, but you did say you are aware of growing mental imparities and physical problems. When the time comes when you really need help, there's nothing like having children around, CLOSE, to help. I'm not talking about turning them into 24/7 caregivers though, so you're still going to want independent living/extended care communities. But having your son or daughter close will help you not feel alone when you do need more advanced care.

We all live in the hear and now. Within a year or two you'll be well settled in any new place you choose, even if you have to go for new doctors and learn the area. Sounds as if you're young enough and sound enough to do this. Have an Estate Sale, load up everything you'll need for a 1500 sq. ft cozy happy peaceful home, and head on out. POA, by the way, can be handled over the phone for most instances, so living near your daughter is not out of the question. I think most will agree that daughter's make the best caregivers, although some men can be good ones.
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An hour away is not bad, but could be hard on your son if you and he want/need frequent face time, like several days a week. One thought if you stay where you are would be whether you both might use and enjoy social network or Skype contact. I tried to bridge the gap before my parents went into care by getting a Ceiva to send pictures...didn't work out for us, but its an idea. If that sort of thing is not your cup of tea, and you do want to have lots of visits, bear in mind making new friends and learning to get around in and maybe even coming to love a new place is not impossible. Missing an old place where you have roots though really can be hard, and I'd absolutely agree with asking your son how he really feels about the hour commute - maybe he feels like it really would be "nothing" and is happy to drive in any weather, or mabye two hour round trips more than a few times a month would seem draining.

I have an uncle who is happy as a clam after moving to a retirement community much closer to family, even crossing the Mason-Dixon line to do it; my mom never quite got used to Little Rock when I moved her here though she liked the grandkid visits that would not have happened had she stayed 15 hours away. And, she did not want to die alone, and much more likely that could have happened if she not moved. I did not make the trip in time for my dad, who stayed in Pgh., though we had already said all the important things and somehow that was not as huge of a regret for me as it could have been otherwise, or would have been with Mom. A lot of pros and cons, no single right answer. Maybe visit the town for a week or so and just try to get a feel whether it could ever feel like home. Most every place has its own charms and things to love; I have lived in quite a few places, and tend to get very attached, so only one was not somewhere I saw myself being happy to spend a lifetime in, but lots of people loved even that place. I often pray about these huge decisions too, where either decision could be right, wrong, or netiher. Maybe just pray that something will come along and show you the "right" choice for you and yours. Finally - make very sure that crossing the state border won't have unintended conseqences. Rules and regs for eligibility or even availability of various programs can vary wildly, some of the assumptions or plans you may have made might be altered more than you'd expect! Cell phone laws and speed limits you could likely adapt to, but length of residency requirements, different tax structure, and all kinds of things might have some importance in your situation.
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caseyh, your message was heart-warming to me. What a considerate person you are. I think the answer to your question depends so much on yourself. If you are a person who adapts easily and makes friends quickly, moving closer to your son may be a good decision if you can find a place that fills your physical and emotional needs. If, on the other hand, loss of your friends, church home, and things you are familiar with would be too much for you, choosing a place where you now live would be better. So much depends on the person you are, so please choose what is best for you. An hour is not so far, and if there are changes in the future, you can move again. I have friends who have moved several times with little impact on their lives. They are very adaptable people, so it didn't bother them.

What would you prefer to do? Do you think it would be depressing to leave what you have now? Would you be able to adapt quickly and make friends in a new place? The greatest concern that I have for you is that you would become depressed if you were doing something for other people and not for yourself. Whatever you choose should be what you feel would make your life enjoyable. Please let us know what you decide. I have a feeling your son will be supportive of whatever you choose for yourself. (The apple probably didn't fall far from the tree.)
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My absolute first thought was "Do your son a favor and move closer to him so in a time of need or urgency he does not have to travel so far." I have seen this happen so often where the parent and the child are living far apart and it puts a real burden on the child to visit or make needed calls when your condition worsens.

After I read the other responses however my thoughts changed. You so eloquently stated that you loved where you live and know where everything is, so my thoughts changed; stay where you are and enjoy your remaining years in your home town.

I would have a conversation with your son and daughter and tell them how you feel and ask for their input. You may be surprised to find out that they support you in staying right where you are. A trip of an hour may not be too much for your son and as one person said this way he will not feel pressured to "help you fit in to your new town and surroundings."

You sound like a very impressive and sharp gentleman who has a lot going for him so I am sure you will make the decision that is best for you while entertaining any recommendations from your children. I could only hope and pray to be as sharp as you at your age!

God Bless You!
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Okay, CaseyH it is now time for you to let us know what you are thinking. I am sure we are all excited to hear from you again!
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My nearly 88-year-old widowed father found that his friends passed away, and his favorite places shut down or changed in ways he did not like. You are comfortable with where you are now, but you may not be comfortable there later. I doubt that the support people you know in church and elsewhere will take care of your basic needs, such as washing you, cleaning your room, doing your laundry, making sure you eat and take your meds, even wiping your bottom. Your son is not a young man, and he is not getting younger. An hour one way can be a lengthy trip, especially if one has to work. You are still able to make friends, find a new church, and make a life for yourself in a new location. Your son can visit you more often if you are closer to him. And you sure don't want to make him have to move you a few years later. That stress would be hard for you and most likely much harder for him.
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From another perspective, I am a distance caregiver of my mother who is 101 and in an ALF. She has friends and people she employs to help her with some things she cannot do. I live 5 hrs. drive away and am 75 myself. Your son is much younger. He can drive the distance. Much can be done nowadays by phone and email. You have resources within your community. By all means discuss it with your son; however, as pointed out, he may not visit more often than he does now. I vote for you staying where you are in familiar surroundings.
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I agree with Ferris and Lilacalani – You're in the position NOW to personally evaluate communities and choose the one that suits you best. Why not pick one nearer your son to avoid the possibility of a future move? I work with two senior communities and I can tell you there's no better time or place that more conducive to making new friends! I've seen it happen over and over in exactly the situation you're in; a parent moving closer to an adult child. In fact, adult children are some of our best 'sales people'. They often say that their relationship with their parent has gotten deeper and more like a true friendship since their parent moved closer and was somewhere that they were comfortable (and their kids could stop worrying about them so much!). As for leaving doctors, unless your son lives in a remote area, there's probably no shortage of them and a senior community is a good place to get connected with them. And, though you don't have connections there, don't forget, your son does and can share them with you.
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Who is talking about moving twice? Sells the home and moves into a suitable retirement community in the area he likes the most with his support close to him, familiar to area and likes it. He will be downsizing, yes it is stressful, tell me all about it, but he will be in a position to enjoy his life in his area with his friends.
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I would agree with everyone here that you should stay in a place where you are comfortable now. It is quite challenging and stressful moving to a new area. With too many new things being introduced into your life it could be so overwhelming that it could throw you into a health issue from the stress. You are doing great and I commend you for taking these steps all by yourself! As you will read on this site, many people have to be moved while kicking and screaming the whole way. This indicates to me that you really have your stuff together. So be good to yourself! Others are correct in that you should discuss with your son first. The only other thing I would recommend is that the places you are checking into are a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), as you grow through stages the community can support you. You don't say what your financial status is. You could live another 20 yrs and your money could run out. So make sure they accept Medicaid, and are ALTECS approved, etc., just in case, then you won’t have to move again. Have a great life and many blessings to you!
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To avoid possibly having to move twice, I agree with ferris1. Moving would be more stressful the second time around. As a general rule of thumb, try to do it right the first time.
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You know I was just going to let it pass, but cdmt1331 is correct. I said to myself, how do you know he is going to "enjoy" your moving close by. Furthermore, one hour away is nothing. I would think he does care, but living close does create a sense of "obligation." Stay as independent as you can, that is what I would like.
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Have you actually spoken to your son about this or are you just assuming he would prefer you to move closer? Some times being close can create feelings of obligation on both sides of the fence and neither of you need that. Have an open and honest conversation, what would kind of expectation is there on both sides. Being a new place he may feel obligated to get you settled and engaged in your new surroundings, but feelings of obligation and guilt don't cause people to grow closer. If he is excited and completely open to having you more involved in his day to day life that's one thing. If he's completely happy with his life the way it is, that's another. This is a major decision, don't make it without all the facts.

You sound like you're trying to be practical and I commend you for that, but what do YOU really want? You should enjoy the time on this planet that you have left, doing things and being in places that bring you joy. I know that's what I want for my parents, and it may well be what your son wants for you! Good luck!!
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CaseyH-Because I have a husband who is almost 87 yrs., and have a friend who is 88 yrs., widowed and experiencing your same situation, I am going to recommend you move to be near your son. If you have trusted your son with your life (the POA), then your relationship will only get stronger the closer you are to him. Moving opens up your mind to new experiences, new challenges and is actually stimulating for your brain! At 87, you are still competent (it sounds like to me and I'm a nurse), and you have the money to be in an assisted living environment. Think of all the new friends you will meet, maybe a special lady friend, and your son can join you at functions the care facility creates. I think this is a great opportunity for you to shed those old painful memories (spouse's death), and look toward your future with your family. We are looking right now for another house and have made offers on three. So far the "looking" has been challenging for my husband since he has Stage 1 dementia, but he still enjoys getting out, seeing new people and places. Having had the same doctors will give you an opportunity to engage in new doctors' perspectives because your previous doctors can overlook issues someone your age may present. Having new eyes on you may be your best avenue to keeping you healthy, and I say that from having had many doctors for my husband. I encourage you to go visit your son, check out what his town has to offer, and since he is still young, I know he would enjoy your company just as you would like having him in your life! Please keep us informed with your final decision and my prayers will be with you no matter what you decide!
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I agree with what everyone here has said: stay in your own, familiar community since that is where you feel most comfortable. Moving from such a large house to a smaller, assisted living setting will be enough of a change without also having to adapt to living in a different area.
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Stay where you are! You are doing all the right things and preparing the right way. One other idea you might entertain is finding an elder-care case manager who would be able to step in and become your son's eyes/ears if your health and abilities decline. When the time comes for your son to give you more support, he will be able to do it in conjunction with a care-manager in your area.
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And may I add, while you are compos mentis spend your money, go on vacation, visit whomever, whenever while you can. After you have settled in your new retirement community, you will be free to do these things and not have to worry about the house, repairs, upkeep, just make things easier for yourself to do what you have to do, online banking, direct debits, trusts, get legals together, use your lawyer to your advantage. I would also look at a community that can transition you to nursing care if you ever needed it. In short use your money for your enjoyment, you earned it, use it to make yourself comfortable and prepared for whatever. My uncle is 88, my other uncle Harold is 103 in Australia, one plays golf the other is still up and about. Plan while you can is my motto.
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An hour away isn't bad at all. Stay in your community where you are familiar with the surroundings. Myself, being the child caring for two parents now, one in a nursing home and one living down the road, my two siblings make every excuse to not visit my parents.There is no guarantee your son will visit often even IF in his same town. Sorry, I hate to be the realistic. So stay in your community and yes, make new friends in the care community. How exciting for you! He can drive an hour....

xo
-SS
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No, you are well able to take care of yourself where you are, your support is there. You are doing well looking into your affairs, figure out what you want to do with all those possessions, and make yourself comfortable in a nice assisted living retirement community, play golf and let him come and visit you. I don't need to tell you to get your affairs in order you are well able.
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