Seniors Living in Two Places: Dilemma and Choice

May 24th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Retirement brings with it enough variety and change that one is never quite settled.  An aunt and uncle of mine moved so many times during retirement, I could never keep up with their address for Christmas cards.  To be sure they had the wherewithal to move a lot.  And they always chose comfortable, attractive and variety in the homes they selected.  I never quite understood their need to move so much, but in retirement I have seen and known others, including ourselves, who have been faced with similar options.

We have chosen to live in two very different climates:  our primary residence with seasonal changes and a secondary leased condo in the desert.  It makes for an interesting switch in life styles, since one is a large home on several acres and the other  is a condo with a zero lot line.  At present we are in the Texas home, enjoying its amenities and challenges and upkeep.  “Enjoy” may be a word to be challenged here.  It takes more than I remember it did, when we were 10 years younger.  But it is spectacular and charming and has a magnetism about it that draws you to its front and back porches for morning coffee and afternoon cocktails.

The condo property is leased in a community in which we have considerable family.  Being there means spending time with our daughter and her husband, grandchildren, siblings and aging parents.  As this blog said last week, relationships make for productive aging and emotional health!  Our Texas property is both large and prolific enough in its foliage and yard demands that we really do need to be present to manage it all for a time.  So between the proverbial rock and a hard place is where we find ourselves now.

Deciding where to be is no small struggle.  Each  of us has commitments and varieties in our life that draw us to them for all kinds of good and necessary reasons.   Our aging parents are facing some health issues in one place.  My mother is 90 and the need to be with her in another offers a predictable draw.  Family obligations invade either place.  So, the infrequent, but occasional, need to evaluate where we are and why comes to the fore.

That’s where we are now.  We find it will involve several in our family to deliberate and resolve the issues.  There are factors that affect each and all of us which this decision will influence.  Just as we live in an interdependent world, so are our families interdependent, if we have chosen to stay connected.  We have made such a choice.  To act out that choice means that it is more complicated to decide.  It is not an issue of conflict, just a matter of being able to sort and winnow, to examine and make the most helpful decision.

And, reality suggests, that this won’t or certainly may not be the last time we are faced with such equations requiring resolution.  That is the nature of this world that offers so many options and flavors.  I suppose we dream of perhaps its being another way, more simple, less convoluted.  But that is a world of another time and another place.   Some root more permanently and completely than others.  Some keep transplanting.  We are more of the latter.  But, I do dream of a more settled, tranquil existence.  I am sure it will happen when my back screams at me, for the last time, as I lift one more box,  “for crying out loud, stop!”

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