Not Prepared for Aging Parents

My mom and my step father, like many, moved from the NYC area to Florida once my step father retired. No state income tax, warmer weather, a house on one story so easy on my mom’s knees. Makes sense. I have cousins within an hour and a half away so they visit occasionally.

Between my 5 siblings (3 of whom are step), 4 of us visit throughout the year (one step sister doesn’t talk to her father anymore) . For about 15 years or so, my parents would make road trips for events but they’re now 83 and almost 76 so road trips are no more and they don’t like flying and don’t do well if they’re away from the home base for too long.

My mom has always been doom and gloom about her health. And she’s been about 50 pounds overweight for 40 years or so and hasn’t exercised much at all. Then she had a heart attack and bypass surgery. Her knees have gotten worse. The big wimp should have gotten them replaced ages ago. She actually pulled a leg muscle or something very recently so it’s even worse. Her back bothers her too. And she runs out of breath easily which is pretty scary to witness. And she’s diabetic. And she says that she’s forgetting stuff, though as I interact with her it doesn’t seem that bad.

Then there’s my step father, Pete. He’s 83 and physically healthy as his doctor tells him, though he’s gotten frail, weak and slow. He also had a scare this year, had his gall bladder removed. And now he’s depressed about being old, mom says. And he gets frustrated and worked up easily.

I’m with them now for Christmas. Just me, without Mona and the kids. Going with them would be more expensive, and difficult to negotiate their schedule with her ex. Plus the kids wouldn’t have much to do here and would bring a high energy that the parents probably wouldn’t do well with.

But I had to see my parents, so I went alone.

I hate to see them both walk around with such difficulty. They’ve gotten old. It happens. Just tough to see.

Mom even fell today. Thankfully thr best way possible, slowly and onto her butt so she didn’t gst hurt.

And they both refer to any future plans with “God willing” or simply “if I’m still alive.” They’re even saying they may not be able to go to my wedding in April… “if (they’re) alive at all.”


They’ve been talking for a while about who will get which item after they die, that they have to write it down, etc.

Their being thousands of miles away from any of their children is awful. I understand why they moved, but when declining health becomes a factor I’m kinda baffled as to how things will be handled. They’re not packing up this house and moving any time soon.

I certainly am not in a position to financially help much or have anyone move in. Mona’s house that I’m moving into isn’t big at all. I do have siblings with more space and money so I guess they’ll help more. I feel awful not having the resources to pitch in in that way when needed. Hopefully something will turn around for me.

I’m very lucky to have them still alive at this point. And… their time seems to be winding down. It’s sad, frightening and frustrating. Hopefully when the time comes we all can handle it.