“Take me home, country roads,” Shea hummed the tune as they headed out on their road trip. Shea and Austin decided to reduce expenses and drive home for the holidays. They haven’t been home in a while, so they were feeling a little anxious about how the folks are doing and how the place is looking. They do speak on the phone, almost weekly, but they know that there are concerns in her parents’ home.

“Everything is just fine sweetie,” Mom would say. Dad would say the yard is looking good just mowed it, or he had deer in the garden again. When we would ask how they are feeling, both said great, getting around good. No pain I can’t live with dad would say. I’m 75 years old and getting around like I’m in my 20s. They always seemed upbeat and did not have any complaints. Shea wanted to believe there was nothing to worry about.

Shea was an only child; her husband was like a son to them. They have lived outside of the country the last 5 years teaching English as a second language. Their contract was up and they decided not to renew. It was time to go home and connect with the folks. Christmas was around the corner, and it was always a memorable time at home.

Turning the corner and heading up the driveway they noticed the yard looked a bit unkempt. There was a section that was mowed in the back yard near the house. The garden was ready to over winter. It looked so much smaller than she remembered. They parked and ran up to the back porch, mom and dad right there to greet them. Hugs all around. Mom and Shea were crying as they held each other.

They went into the house and sat at the dining room table. Mom had coffee ready so they all had a cup of coffee and proceeded to catch up.

Shea had noticed a few things like garbage on the back porch, likely on their way to the garbage can but hadn’t quite made it there yet. The house was pretty cluttered, too much furniture in the living room, newspapers stacked up by the fireplace, and the carpet needed a good vacuuming. The kitchen counters were full of appliances, dishes that had not made into the cupboards and fruit in a bowl that was a breeding ground for fruit flies.

Shea wasn’t sure how to handle this, so she had a discreet side bar with Austin in the kitchen to find out if he was seeing what she was seeing. They agreed it was obvious they were having some difficulty keeping the house in good order. It wasn’t a hoarder’s paradise it just looked like tasks had to be done in stages, in due time.

It was time to think about eating, Mom had not prepared anything but had ingredients for a meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. The men took a walk out to the shop, while the women visited and prepared dinner. Mom was chit chatting while Shea cleaned an area to work at the counter. The refrigerator could also use some attention. Red flags were popping up everywhere and Shea had some real concerns.

The men had come back into the house and dinner was ready. As they ate their meal they talked about Christmas. Shea had some cousins in the area who they would invite. The house needed to be cleaned and decorated. Shea asked them, “Are you really ready and able to host and perform all the duties that go with that?” Mom broke into tears and said no. Her and Dad were tired, lifting and carrying things have become difficult. The stairs are becoming difficult, Dad has a bit of a shuffle. Dad piped up, “Mom’s eyes are getting bad.” Shea and Austin immediately comforted them.

Shea looked at Austin who shared that the shop had projects were not done, and the shop had not been cleaned of scraps and debris for many months. Dad shook his head in agreement. The folks did not want Shea and Austin to worry about them. They just kept putting up a happy front and tried to get through it. In their minds they would get to feeling better and take care of some of the clutter and cleaning that wasn’t getting done. Shea asked them if they were willing to look at a few things that could help them in the short term and then start preparing for the long term. We are worried about you falling or using tools and equipment you are just not strong enough to handle.

Mom and Dad took a few minutes to talk it over. We aren’t getting any younger, we are tired, our minds are good, but our bodies have decided there are just some things we can’t do. They knew the place needed some attention and were thankful for Shea and Austin’s honesty about their concerns. Forcing them to face some of the facts about aging in place was difficult, but necessary.

Shea made a call to the local senior center in town, they told her to give us a call. We had a long talk and learned about their concerns. We explained what we do and how our certifications work. We scheduled a time to meet with the folks to get their take on the possibility of working together. During that meeting we would evaluate the conditions and review the urgency needed. That visit went well. They knew they wanted to have Christmas as planned, so we set up house cleaners to come in and get the place in order. Shea and Austin stayed around to get the place decorated and do the shopping for the meal. They pulled off Christmas, which may be the last one in this home as downsizing looks like it is needed. The relationship has developed and a long-term plan is being created for Shea’s parents.

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 850-894-6720 or email us at info@gcmsolutions.net. We’ll be happy to assist!