As a baby boomer, I have wondered about how I am going to manage in the years ahead. Will I be able to take care of the house, the car, and keep up with the yard work? Even in my early 60’s I am having my doubts as I wake up each morning with a few extra aches and pains that weren’t there yesterday. My friend and I had this discussion recently and she expressed her confidence that her two sons will be there to help her when the time came for her to downsize and move into a smaller home. Not to throw a wet blanket on her enthusiasm, I just pointed out a few things for her to think about.
- Does everyone get along? Whether you have a large family with lots of children and a long line of extended family or you have only one child and a have a few close family members, it always helps when everyone gets along and is willing to pitch in to help when the time comes. But as we all know that is not always the case. If one of her sons doesn’t get along with the other, it could be very distressing for my friend to have constant bickering going on. One son won’t come to help if the other one is there, and when the other son comes he spends the whole time complaining about what was done by his brother. As a consequence, no progress is made and my friend would be caught in the middle of a very uncomfortable situation.
- Does your family live close? Life today is so fast paced and frantic it is hard to keep up with the coming and going of everyone, even with Facebook and Twitter! Boomers and seniors can be technology-challenged and not up to speed on these methods of communication. It is equally true that we have a hard time keeping up with what our families are doing in their lives, what their schedules are and whether or not they would have the time to help you with projects. Between caring for their spouse, children and jobs it is almost impossible to get their attention, that’s even if they live close by. Forget it if they are out of town or out of state! Although they would love to be able to help, it is sometimes not economically and timely for them to do so. What good is that going to be when you need to move some furniture from the basement to the garage? Time for plan B, whatever that may be.
- My family will want to have the family heirlooms. This may or may not be the case. For any number of reasons your family may not want or need the items that you have accumulated and valued all these years. Although when it comes time to think about downsizing and possibility of moving into something smaller, we should give family the opportunity to take items that they may want. But how can you do this and still keep peace in the family? Inevitably everyone will want the same item. So what should be a joy filled giving process turns into the family feud.
These are just a few things to think about as we look toward our family for help. We thought that getting older would be simpler and easy. Well, we were wrong! Now we have to think of ways to move on with our lives, get the help we need and want from our families, and still lead independent, vital, and happy lives. Over the next few articles I will give you some suggestions on how to help eliminate some of the stress family can create, and how we can show our independence and ingenuity on getting these things done.