Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why not just move your mom to YOUR new town....

I live 2000 miles from my Mom and travel to see her about every 6 weeks. UGH! It's a scheduling and financial burden but I feel it's best for her. I can't tell you how many times well meaning friends suggested that I move mom closer to me and even implied that I'm a rotten daughter because I didn't do it! Needless to say, those folks are OFF the friends list.... Some friends can't understand why I travel so far so often to see my Mom. Here's my reason for leaving Mom in her home town:

Consider my Mom's condition: 88.5 years old, stiff and weakened from arthritis, and lived in the same house for 63 years. She retained friendships through school and church from the age of 12. She does not have the time to make new, deep friendships and experiences. She is NOT terribly forgetful or demented; she doesn't sleep the whole day away. She remains curious and intellectually aware. I live more than 6 states away from my home town where Mom still lives. It's a different geography, climate and a totally different type of people; they are not welcoming to strangers. Making connections is important to my Mom, it gives her a sense of "rooted-ness"; she could never make those connections if I move her to an ALF where I currently live.

Here's an example of the type of connections I mean: the maintenance supervisor at her ALF is the grandson of my Grandma's friend and neighbor, Mom met him years ago as a teenager. Another resident is the widow of a long-time neighbor and just recently two members of Mom's church congregation moved into her ALF. THESE are important connections that help her feel secure. These connections give her a sense of community within the ALF and thus help make it HOME. She'd never find these if I were to move her 2000 miles away. It's easier for me to travel to see HER rather than force her to live without this sense of connectedness. It's a relief to write about this here; those same snide people who made me feel like a rotten daughter would not take the time to listen to these good reasons. When it's their turn to fill this role, I hope I forget their attitudes and can offer some kind support and wise advice that benefits their parents .