Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Houses and getting old
Marking finished, hurray hurray.
Next urgent tasks: rescue the garden from the neglect of the past few weeks and find a care home for my confused aunt. Currently she’s in her own home with 24-hour, privately-funded care, but this has to be fairly short-term for financial reasons and I need to find a nice home which will have a room some time soon and which she will agree to go to.
She would much rather stay in her flat but her short-term memory is gone and she’s not safe. Since she doesn’t see the need for any of this, she hasn’t got her name on any waiting lists. I have to do something about this pronto and go round visiting homes to find somewhere that will take her and where she’ll be happy (I hope). She used to be a missionary / doctor so it has to be somewhere with a definite Christian ethos, which cuts the choice down considerably.
I’ve already visited a couple of homes. My mother came with me to give me the benefit of her advice. When we came back from the second one, she said to me – but in a jokey sort of way – “I suppose I ought to put my name down for some of these places!” And I didn’t like to say… and didn’t.... “Well, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.” She is 88, after all – the same age as my aunt (my dad’s sister). A care home wouldn’t be the first option for Mum – she would come and stay with us if possible – but still, it would do no harm to have one’s name on the waiting list, just in case.
I wonder if it would be too soon for me to put my name down…? A nice room looking out over a garden; meals made; housework done; laundry taken care of… . Would they let me bring thousands of books, my computer, Mr Life and the cats? (Perhaps I’ve put these items in the wrong order.)
I’m approaching a Big Birthday which my brother suggests that I should regard as 59a (and then proceed to 59b, c, d etc) and I do think from time to time about the next house. The last house, I suppose. Rachel of Slow Lane Life (http://attica-slowlife.blogspot.com/) is boldly entering the next phase of her life and planning to move down near the south coast. We wouldn’t move far from Edinburgh, but I’m torn between thinking that we should buy a really practical house for our old age and thinking that we should buy one we really like. I want to move back to the other side of the city, near the sea, where I lived till I was nearly forty. Or a nearby seaside town?
What would you go for? Sensible or the dream?
I would like a bigger garden, but how practical is that? My parents moved twenty years ago to a big, elegant flat, the bottom of a very large divided house. It seemed suitable enough then but now my mum is rattling about in it, worrying about redecoration and dry rot and elderly pipework. Not to say the garden, which seemed manageable when they were in their sixties but which Mum can’t do now. My aunt, in contrast – my other, non-confused aunt – lives with friends in a wonderful big shared house with an enormous garden in Norfolk. It wasn’t a practical move but it was a fantastic one.
She did have a secret weapon, though: one of the friends had a husband who was – and still is – almost thirty years younger. So I just have to trade in Mr Life for a chap in his early thirties and I’ll be fine. It’s a thought….
No, it’s all right, Mr Life. I couldn’t face holding my stomach in for the rest of my life. And you’re a nice old chap. (Or maybe not old; just 59c.)
Now: off to haul up forget-me-not and plant begonias.