That subtle shift from being cared for to caretaker. From child of parent to parent of parent. From “going home” and being the child again to “going home” to be the monitor, the spy, the coordinator. Is Dad able to take care of his daily needs? Does Mom understand her medications? Are they depressed? Should Dad be driving? Is Dad confused or is it me who is confused? Am I being the best daughter that I can be? Am I missing something big? Did I push them into moving into this small apartment? Is this their last move?
These are the questions that keep me up at night. I spend equal time worrying and equal time in denial. There are days that I want to put my aging parents out of my thoughts and focus on the fun things. Then there are days that I feel like the two hours distance from them is too long.
My parents recently sold their home and moved into a tiny apartment in a senior living community. They are still labeled “independent” but can be taken care of in an instant if they need to be. From this apartment they can transition to assisted living or a nursing home when needed. There is home nursing available on site. This is a good change for them.
I didn’t expect to feel sad when I walked through their almost empty home for the last time. This was not the home that I grew up in…I had already parted and grieved for that home. But, still the tears filled my eyes as memories of family get-togethers in this home flooded my brain.
I couldn’t help but acknowledge that my parents are transitioning into elderly status, and that this is uncharted territory for me.
I think another glass of wine is in order.