Don slammed the door with a scowl on his face. He ripped off his boots and propelled them to the floor.
“Didn’t go so well, huh?” Julie ventured.
“They just won’t listen. They’re stubborn. Refuse to face facts.” He ran his fingers through his hair and sat down resignedly, his irritation losing steam.
Julie felt the old frustration welling up. “They give me the same hard time. Like you, I feel so helpless at times.”
“Your parents just can’t cope anymore,” Don added, “ and I guess deteriorating health blinds them to the risks of their isolation.”
He looked across at Julie, who stared at the floor. His resentment turned to sympathy for her. “The situation is taking its toll on you, hon.”
She looked up at him as he continued. “Daily trips to your parent’s house to check and run errands, and,” he leaned forward, elbows on his knees, hands gesturing openly toward her; “you have to cope with the demands of a teenage family as well.”
“The most difficult thing for me,” she explained, “is their complaint about me every time I try to help. My brother away in California is the golden boy who never does anything wrong.”
“That’s because he’s not available to do anything. He can’t do it wrong” Don gave her a grim smile.
That story can be told repeatedly. Parents in their own home try to maintain their independence while failing bodies and faculties make it increasingly difficult. The baby boomer generation faces increasing oversight of parents, yet not wanting to compel them into more suitable accommodation.
It’s been two and half months since Ann and I moved into about 550 square feet on the lower level of our home. Good storage space, absence of stairs, and a grade level entrance make this convenient. A large living space doubles as an office with desks at one end, and triples as a bedroom with a wall bed at the other end.
A previous bedroom is now a kitchen and dining room, the closet converted into a pantry. The piano is also in this room, giving the atmosphere of an English parlour. A full bathroom and laundry on the same level complete a cosy, comfortable, convenient home.
We have the occasional use of the two ovens upstairs. Two delightful sisters—who could be our grandchildren—rent the upper level and use our lower level laundry. Having someone responsible upstairs, means there is help available in an emergency.
The girls share the outside work such as gardening and snow removal. Ann is still free to potter in the garden she enjoys, but the heavy work is reduced. We still live in our own house and have the use of our car and garage.
Having less space to maintain is a freeing outlook, and we enjoy our writing and other pursuits with continuing independence and ease.