Friday, October 14, 2016

Meeting and Knowing My Neighbors-By Way Of The Internet

Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour or so at one of my many book groups. A group of guys and gals meet once a month in the mid-afternoon at our local independent coffee shop to discuss and socialize. Now, I belong to three books groups. What's unique about this one is that I met all the people in the group online.

I try and put a limit on my technology time. We live in the real world after all, and it can be more easy than we know to go down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest or waste time elsewhere. On the other hand, the Internet is a wonderful way to make connections-and not just those that are far away.  While I knew all this, making a couple moves in a few years has really brought this home to me-in spades.

Every so often, I explore the net looking for local things to do. I check out the newspaper online, the Visit Denver site and more, making a list of craft fairs, festivals, Christmas markets , classes, and day trips. One time, about a year ago, I was doing one of these searches, and something new popped into my feed.......a link to the Next Door website.

Now, some of my readers probably knew about Next Door even before it was a twinkle in my eye, but for me this was a fairly new thing, and I really had no idea what it was.  For those folks like me, Next Door is a social network type website that I allows you to communicate and chat with your neighbors-about all kinds of things.

It also allows you to keep your privacy, and keep trolls away. When I joined Next Door, someone vetted me and my address to show that I in fact, lived in the section of Littleton known as East Heritage. Once vetted, I introduced myself-and shared as much or little as I chose. Next Door operates as small communities in larger communities. So while my larger Next Door group is Littleton, there are many sub neighborhoods within the site. I can choose to communicate just with my immediate neighborhood, or with the greater suburban group.

If you had asked me, I would have said a website like this was overkill. I would have been wrong. By socializing and talking on Next Door, I was able to instigate a daytime crafting group (surprise), join another book group, be invited to a monthly card group, find out about an artists co-op (not my thing), and learn that we actually have a small winery in our our neighborhood.

And socialization is not the only benefit of Next Door (or other social media neighbor apps or websites). The city sends out instant, as it happens info on weather and traffic each day. A fellow in the neighborhood notices strangers in a white van driving down the street slowly (possibly scoping out cars). The local high school hosts a statewide cross country meet once a year, and lets us know that the streets will be blocked on this day. A small business shares that it needs part time help. A member of my craft group has grandchildren visiting and needs to borrow booster seats.......the list goes on.

As with anything neighborhood related, there can be downsides as well. One party is trying to get a petition to avoid the new Alzheimer's care facility going in a half mile away, another is wondering if a new seven eleven and gas station coming on the corner will bring in a "bad element". But these situations are few and far between.

Meeting new friends and having people to talk to is an issue in retirement, especially for those of us who relocate, relied on our jobs for socialization, or are socially shy. Traditional things like Facebook can certainly help, and I belong to a variety of Facebook groups, including one for serger users, one for quilters, and more.

But a website like Next Door gives us a chance to meet neighbors in this busy age of working and volunteering and two income couples and commuting and more. By first starting out just chatting and and visiting with folks in my neighborhood, I have been able to move to true socialization, as well as knowing my neighborhood, it's history and it's pluses and minuses (every place has negatives, after all) from those who know my neighborhood the best.

Next Door is only one way to socialize and know neighbors online. I also belong to a closed facebook group known as "Word of Mouth Littleton" where folks share recommendations and needs, as well as a neighborhood yard sale group on social media.

The bottom line is that technology and the internet are great tools in making friends, meeting new people and knowing your neighbors. There are certainly many ways to do that, but if you have a Next Door group in your area, I encourage you to check it out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

And so it goes this Friday in retirement.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Yours, Mine, and Ours..........Finances, That is!

On Veterans Day of this year, it will be ten years since my husband passed away. Sometimes it is hard to believe and it feels like the time has been much shorter. As I've been reflecting on this time with my family, I've begun writing a series of articles on both preparation for widowhood and dealing with the ramifications of that.....soon to come.

Meanwhile though, I've realized that many of the so called traditional financial rules and behaviors for money management for couples has gone out the window-for a variety of reasons, most of them good I am sure. For example, I shared with someone recently that I never actually filed my will for probate because I never needed it.

You see, my husband and I owned everything jointly, with rights of survivorship-with one exception. Joint checking accounts, joint savings accounts. I was the only beneficiary of his life insurance and vice versa. I was the only beneficiary of his 401K (by law with the feds you cannot name a beneficiary other than the spouse without the spouses permission). My husband purchased our home without me, but we lived in Virginia where spousal survivorship was a given. In fact, the only things we did not share jointly and manage jointly were our cars.

This made life more easy for me than I can say. While I did have to send death certificates to the account corporate offices, never was anything frozen and never did I not have access to all funds and everything I owned-I just had to forward the death certificate and remove my husband's name (eventually).

This also made our financial life easy for the many years we were together. We each always knew how much the other made (or in my case often did not make). It was easy to do a quick check on where our finances were as we only had three accounts (checking, savings, investments). And as a wife married to a husband who traveled for his job a fair amount, I was always able to access all of our accounts with no power of attorney or other issues.

This was the only kind of "couples finance" that either of us really knew. Both our parents had always owned things jointly-one joint account for checking and so on. It was the way of the world.

The world it seems, has changed. My daughter and her husband, for example, have separate checking accounts as well as a joint account for paying bills. One partner (in this case him) pays the bills from money they both separately contribute to the pot. And they are not alone, even among married couples. Not only that, but from what I have seen more and more boomer couples are moving to the yours, mine and ours model of finances.

I have to confess, while I feel everyone should do what works for them,  I don't really get it. I can surely see exceptions-second marriages with children and inheritances involved would certainly change the equation, I expect. Other than that though, it often seems like a trust issue for me. I mean, I'm the first to admit that we all have spending styles and different priorities. I also understand that some folks come to marriage with debt or other issues. (I came to my second marriage deeply in debt with more bounced checks than I care to think about in order to keep things afloat after my first husband took everything and left, after all).

In my case, both my husband and I had a certain amount budgeted for month that was ours to spend as we wanted, we no questions asked-and believe me, there was more than one time when one of us looked askance at the other as of to say "really, you bought THAT?". How much we allowed for personal spending depended on the times-early on in our marriage my husband changed careers and went back to almost minimum wage. In those days, the extra cash can best be described as what Dave Ramsey would call blow money. But because we had good communication and trust, it always worked for us.

The world is changing, and apparently the financial rules are as well. There are more divorces and "partnerships". People remarry, and second marriages often either minor or adult children from previous marriages. More and more, women are in the work force as much as men.

The bottom line I suppose is that as the rules and lifestyle change, money habits change as well. Personally, given the choice. I would still stick to the "old system". But we are all different, and what works, works.

What about you? Do you have separate accounts? Deal with everything jointly? Or are you perhaps somewhere in the middle.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Joys of (Not) Being a Morning Person

I have a confession to make to y'all.  I may never see another sunrise, except in the middle of winter.  And you know what, that's okay with me.

I know that I am probably in a minority, at least a minority who admits to this.  Many of my readers and other boomer/retirement bloggers get up early (even without an alarm). They meet the sun, exercise in the early morning, feel that they get more done, and get more "quiet and alone time", depending on their spouse or partner's habits. To them I say enjoy-but don't call me !!!

One of my regular blog reads (not a retirement blog at all) regularly pushes the advantages of both getting up in the morning and "doing stuff" as soon as you do. She even has a class on how to learn to get up early and be a morning person-the implication being that you'll be more successful and better if you do so. Since I love to read much of what this person shares, I simply tune this one out. 

Now admittedly this particular blogger is not directing her message to boomers or retirees. Many of not most of her readers are parents of kids, who need to do things fairly early and motivate kiddos to do the same. I do remember the working days. When I was much younger, single and had a toddler, I worked at a hospital and my shift sometimes involved the seven am shift. In later years I returned to work for a few years and again had to be at work at eight. In both cases though, my technique was to prepare the night before and get up at the last possible minute (I'm big on kids getting themselves ready and taking responsibility once they are past early elementary school). So I understand the need for some to rise early at certain times in their lives even though they are not "morning people".

To look at some of the memes that abound on the web, you would think non morning folks hate those early risers. While this is not necessarily true, I could write a book about living with an early riser and not being one. I love and miss my husband dearly, but his ability to be cheerful as soon as he had showered or had coffee, no matter the hour, was the bane of my existence for years. And frankly, most morning folks like me are very quiet in the evening when we know others are in bed, so we don't quite understand why you cheery morning folks need to share that with us!!

Fortunately once my kids were old enough to prepare for school and get themselves there, they and my husband usually did their own thing, giving me a kiss on the way out (nowhere in the mommy guidebook does it say mom has to get up and cook for teenagers or spouses, believe it or not). In truth, I've raised at least one non-morning person out of the two.

And I do have to tell ya, it  irks me on occasion when people who get up early talk about how much more they get done, how much more efficient they are in the morning and how important morning time is-and how we should learn to do like they do. People, the reason you are so efficient in the morning is because you like mornings-seriously!!!!!

Now that I am taking marijuana to help me sleep, I am not as much of a night owl as I used to be. I am generally asleep between 12 and 1, and because I live with people who need to still leave the house for things like school and work, I'm usually awake by nine and often by eight. Having said that, this does not mean that I am "up and at em" at that hour!

Even at eight (or sometimes nine), I still need time to become fully alert enough to do anything constructive. In fact, my morning routine is to move from my bed to my favorite chair by the window. There I sit usually for at least an hour. I light a candle, and have my morning caffeine and a breakfast biscuit or something similar. I do my morning meditation, look out the window at what is going on, get myself organized and make any daily (or weekly plan). in truth, some days I am in that chair for two hours or so, checking my email, writing in my journal or more.  THEN I begin on my day in earnest.

Even as I write this, someone somewhere is saying, "but how does she get anything done?".  Well first of all, I'm a retiree with an empty nest, so I don't HAVE to get as much done as I once did.  And second, I do get much done, just at different times of day than morning people.

Exercise? Done later in the day walking on the path or in the pool. It works for me because many of my volunteering and my crafty hobbies are sedentary and this gives me a break in my day. Projects and volunteering?   All done in the afternoon. Crafting and hobbies?  Often done during the day, but also done after dinner when others are winding down and watching TV, reading or even getting ready for bed. Enjoying the peace of my yard, some silence and letting my creative brain do it's brainstorming? Again, in the peace of the evening, often after dark.

I think the bottom line in the morning versus non morning thing is knowing thyself and working with what you have. My busiest and most constructive time is from around noon to four, with a quick burst of post dinner energy. Since morning time is NOT my most constructive time, I save that for reading, spending serious outside time on my swing watching the dogs, journaling, daydreaming and mindless busy work 

On the other hand, the afternoons and evenings include that daily exercise,  volunteering eight hours a week at minimum, taking a college class or two, being involved in a crafting group, and a book group, and enjoying my weekly day trip or breakfast out and a movie. In other words, being a slow and lazy riser does not in and of itself a shchlumpalump make!!

Whenever folks ask me the two favorite things about retirement, I always say leaving the alarm behind, and never having to shop on the weekend again. There is some humor in those responses and these are not the only things I love about retirement, but you get my drift.

So to all my early rising friends I say this: keep it up. Enjoy that sunrise, and maybe even take a picture for me. Smell the fresh morning air. Spend an hour doing whatever you usually do intensively in the early morning. But be kind to those of us who are "different"-including that spouse who might prefer to remain in bed while you jog to the sunrise.

And whatever you do, don't call me before noon!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Seasons, They Are Changing

Here in beautiful Colorado, the weather is a sunny 83, which makes it seem like closer to 90 degrees this close to the sun. The next week looks like similar weather, but that could change, I''m wearing sandals and shorts with an occasional sweater later in the evening as it cools down at night. This is the kind of weather I love.

Even so, it is officially fall. While my leaves have not started changing, the Aspen in the mountains are falling and this week and next week will be the best times to "see the colors" as it were. I would be the first to say that Colorado fall colors have no comparison to those trees on the east coast. A drive on the Blue Ridge or Skyline Parkway is still the best way I know to see fall color, but the Aspen Groves have their own beauty.

But even without leaves falling of my trees or cold weather, fall is slowly but surely arriving. Commitments have started to pick up post summer, and the days are slowly becoming more active-and shorter. My Tuesday night class has started up again, as has my weekday volunteering gig. I've taken on a new project, providing dinner for the Thursday night social/learning evening at my church. In my knitting group, we've turned to thinking about knitting sweaters for homeless veterans, and concentrating on holiday gifting. I pulled out the wrinkled fall and Halloween quilt tops I made last year so that I can get them finished-even though I am not in love with the simple Halloween quilt (my next quilt will be a vintage style with many, many, many small pieces, so I'm enjoying doing a couple simple things).

I've purchased my first pumpkin pie, and have started using pumpkin in recipes. While I'm not one for pumpkin ale, or pumpkin hot chocolate, I do like a good chocolate chip pumpkin bread or pumpkin soup, spiced pumpkin candles and the like.  Heck, I've even started keeping my eyes out for eggnog, early as it is.  And while I use my slow cooker in the summer to save on electric costs, now I use it for chili and soups and stews!

Even with my schedule picking up, I try and allow for alot of down time. Every so often though, life takes over, and so it has been for the past, non-blogging week. Nothing exciting or transforming has happened-just a lot of little distractions adding up if you will. I spent some time in the rabbit hole of Internet genealogy, as well as doing some "Genealogy for Dummies" reading.  I started photgraphing my memorabilia for a photo book and found a graduation photo of my father! 

I have been taking two courses through Great Courses Plus and one of them is drawing, so I have done some basic beginner exercises. I went through and organized my sewing room in anticipation of holiday sewing. As part of the household experiment in eating well but cooking less, I've experimented with a couple Blue Apron like companies that I'll be reviewing, as well as Schwanns delivery. And of course I've done more than my share of summer reading. And walking, And just sitting mindlessly on my swing and enjoying the days. Oh, and I purchased an embroidery machine. One can never have too many sewing machines or creative toys, after all.

I also went to a wedding of two old friends who finally were able to get married thanks to the changing laws and my progressive church, where they had lovely fall flowers.  I purchased some flannel shirts. I have a personal fashion consultant in my daughter, who informed me that no matter what else I bought this fall, a flannel shirt was a must. Whether she's right or not, I now have at least one in my closet.

Everyone has their favorite seasons. I fully admit that I Iove summer-to the point that I rarely travel during the summer months unless it is to see family.  I'm happy sitting out in the sun, enjoying the long days and the slower pace, which is probably why I prefer to travel at other times of the year. In truth though, I love almost all the seasons here in Colorado. Occasionally I have difficulty in March, April and the beginning of May, having lived mostly in places where gardening started after Easter-but that is solved by spring vacations or short term snow birding.

Meanwhile, I've made a huge list of fall to Christmas events: festivals, concerts, day trip ideas, overnight ideas, and just some plain around the house with friend ideas. Most of them are free or cheap and semi local - I still have so much to see in my surrounding states since my move that my "road tripping" goals this fall lean more to three and four day trips in different directions (hello Jackson, Wyoming) than longer road trips. Especially with a one month train trip coming after the beginning of the year.

As for today? I'm off to start one of those Christmas knitting projects, get some good quality chili meat, and finish the book I'm reading. I've promised my reading and watching list for awhile, so look for it on Friday.

And so it goes, this Wednesday in Retirement.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Digging into Genealogy

My mom was a big genealogy buff. Through the years, first living in Europe twice and then after retirement, she faithfully searched our family history back thirteen generations. She did this in another time and place, when it required looking at microfiche, searching real records on occasion and visiting the Salt Lake City library as often as possible.

While she shared all this information with us, and we talked about it a great deal, I'm sorry to say that none of the four children really followed in her footsteps when it came to this particular hobby. Both my parents passed away years ago (when my thirty seven year old was still in middle or high school). After my parents died, my brother here in Denver took home the photo albums (I took the loose photos and memorabilia) as well as the multiple boxes that were my mom's genealogy stuff. Unfortunately,until about a year ago it sat there well forgotten. Partly because no one had a deep abiding interest and partly because my brother (a "keeper" of things) was unsure where he put it.

Lately things have changed up a bit. A few things have happened. My daughter developed an interest in her family history. My father in law had been researching his family history, and I wanted to do the same for the younger generation, so I slowly started doing some digging. And finally, my daughter is also the biological daughter of a person I haven not seen or spoken to since she was about eight months old (that my friends, is a book in itself). Even though she is thirty something, I've decided that anything I can do to help her out in terms of her family health history would be a good thing as well. So I have more than one motivation-normal for me.

My brother is remodeling his home, and a few months ago he brought up five large boxes of genealogy information from my mother, as well as that large family chart known as a pedigree.

With my piqued interest, I have slowly but surely been working on my family history-and believe me it's been more slowly! Granted, the study has changed, but it still takes skill (which I'm learning slowly), time and patience (which I surely have), and money (which I am trying to avoid for the moment). 

Being one who tries to start at the beginning whenever I can, my first step has been to take a course in Genealogy (through the great courses plus, which I plan to review next week). This course is divided into thirty minute increments, and right now it is covering online sources, off line sources and the basics on how to begin the search, which I found fascinating. When you take the great courses they are videos, but they also have printable help, which has allowed me to print out information to have on hand.

To date, I've joined (not cheap and I am not sure it's something I will continue with) where I found a copy of my father in law's father's draft card. I spoke with my father in law during the trip south and got a simple list from him of all the descendants of his great, great, great, great grandfather, with dates of births and deaths when known. We are in the process of making copies for each sibling of the large chart. I have said that for my birthday, all I want is pedigree and one box of the genealogy stuff to copy and document.

They say that we all turn into our mothers. I am not sure about that (I have yet to become so involved in English history that I can name all the monarch's in order and many of their offspring), but in this case I am definitely coming late to something that my mother obviously loved.

Not only that, but this fits perfectly into my other goal, which is to scan pictures and then write what I remember about each one, or something similar. My kids lost their grandparents and their father at a young age, and while I talk about them all the time, I want to create a greater memory for them, in some way. 

Tomorrow, the first college football Sunday, I plan to spend with the TV-and my laptop or tablet. Because the truth is, the more I find out, the more I want to know.

And so it goes, this weekend in retirement. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Retirement Health: Me and my Medical Marijuana Card

I have a bum knee. Actually I have a bum leg. For years I had severe arthritis in one knee (no cartilage at all). Then, within the last couple of years (after having pain so bad I could not walk for exercise), a leg sonogram showed leg degeneration in the thigh and ankle. While some of this was certainly caused by my more than optimum weight, my military time was equally to blame. Running in combat boots on the fight line tarmac daily will do that to ya.

Because I have a bad knee and degeneration, it's not just the knee that hurts. I walk unevenly, meaning that I get a knot in my back, and since I don't always walk normally, I get that pain behind the knees-the kind that hurts when you sit down much more than getting up. My leg also simply aches, severely when I am sitting in a recliner or trying to sleep. Don't get me wrong, I am not "handicapped". I walk in and out of the water for exercise, I walk in the mall. I do almost everything except get down on the floor-which is probably why I admire those gymnasts who can get up from a kneeling position in one fell swoop on a two inch beam.

Having a normal lifestyle during the day means discomfort at night, pure and simple. Which is why, some time ago, I shared with readers my plan to explore marijuana as part of my lifestyle. Folks,  cannot tell you how much it has improved my life. There are, literally no words.

The first time I went to my local pot store, I made my twenty something come with me. I had no idea what to expect. I bought edible pot and edible topical lotion to treat my knee instead of Ben-gay-at the recreational price. As we left, my son looked at me and said (I swear to God), "So, are we a big girl now? Can we go by ourselves from now on?"  I said yes, and life has progressed.

That was quite sometime ago, and I recently realized that since I had gone over to the dark side, it was time to make it official. I went and saw a doctor and got myself medically certified. Even Colorado is not perfect. One can get medical pot for a variety of illnesses and conditions including chronic pain. But it is not approved for PTSD or Crohn's disease.

Now someone might ask, why a medical card in a state where it is legal. The first answer is money. I am the frugal retiree after all.  I can get larger amounts for less and pay less taxes (recreational marijuana is taxed at 25 percent and gave me a tax refund last year). The second answer is form and substance. Instead of ten cookies at ten mg each for thirty bucks, I purchased five large cookies at 100 mg each for less than thirty bucks.  My medical card also gives me access to marijuana that has no THC-helpful because the THC is generally what seems to cause the drowsiness. I could even grow plants by choice, legally (never going to happen).

My bottom line folks, is that pot is a wonderful drug. It puts me to sleep-so deep that I rarely have dreams (which is not unhealthy, but when I stop the dreams are frighteningly vivid). On the other hand, the sleep is not so deep that if I need to wake up for a middle aged trip to the restroom, I cannot do so.

It is important to note that marijuana is not just about pain, although I believe that opioid addiction would go down by half if medical pot was legal everywhere, and I am not the only one. Marijuana helps diabetes, as well as my arthritis. Marijuana can calm the stomach, it stabilizes sugar, it acts as an anti spasmodic, and greatly improves restless leg syndrome. Also, our joints contain cannaboids, and pot can help replace that. Marijuana, by the way, is especially effective on Rheumatoid disease, even beyond osteo-arthritis.

When I first wrote about this, at least one person suggested that they were in favor of recreational pot, but not it's medical use because of lack of research. The thing is though, there is research. Just not as much as I might like, and most of it done outside this country. Canada has done studies.  There are European studies on osteo-arthritis and other diseases, and finally in America we have at least some studies, and many pre-clinical trials..

In this country, the NIH pretty much funds and approves almost all research. And so far they have refused much of the needed research  because of it's drug classification. New studies are  slowly appearing, including one funded by a pot consortium in Colorado (but not managed by them, by a study group), investigation the effect on PTSD. It should be noted that study was approved fully by that agency known as the DEA.

We also have other information though. I mean, a full generation at least of Americans have used pot. Sometimes regularly, sometimes occasionally and some times medicinally.  Although much of that information is anecdotal, I would say that there are a few consensus agreements, especially when it comes to things like side effects.

We know that edibles and topical treatments have almost no side effects. While I may get drowsy (in my case that's the point), or get the munchies (I do not), my pot edibles don't affect my liver. They don't give me a hangover. I can take pot with almost all regular medication including aspirin.

 A small percentage of pot users experience addiction according to the Harvard Medical Revue (but the same is true of alcohol and other pain drugs have a much, much higher incidence). I went to Texas for two weeks and while I had restless sleep, and some pain (I refuse to take Tyleonol PM), I functioned as my normal crazy self. There is probably more research to be done on marijuana that is inhaled. Part of that however, is because many folks of my generation smoked AND smoked, if you get my drift. 

Just for a quick look, this is a medical marijuana article that links to some studies on arthritis and marijuana.

Of course while this missive is about medicinal pot, I would be remiss if I did not at least address recreational use among boomers. I ingest, rather than smoking. I have friends who smoke, not because of medical reasons but because it is their version of a glass after dinner or a beer on football Sunday. It works for them, and I say more power to the proverbial people.

A couple weeks ago I met up with an extremely conservative, just say no type of guy, a thirty years in the military and still has his haircut type of guy. Who smokes a bowl of weed before bed. Every single night.  As he would say, "You can keep the beer".

I agree wholeheartedly. I just wonder how I'm going to explain those medical pot receipts on my taxes next year.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

When Parents Move Back Home

This blog has covered many topics over the years. Those topics include independence and activity, even in late retirement. My mother and father in- law have been the topic of those discussions on more than one occasion.

During their retirement, husband's parents were generally active, his father especially so. They traveled (including a  cruise all the way down the Amazon), they entertained, they were involved. My father in-law volunteered and mentored homeless and abused children. He was taking Zumba and walking the track at the rec center well past eighty. Also after eighty, he was completely rebuilding a Triumph Spitfire. I've shared more than once about the Christmas that he brought me into the garage to see his car and told me that he planned to change out the engine the next day.

They had paid off their home and planned to retire in place after doing some renovations, thinking that if they had to  have someone come in, that would not be a problem. Unfortunately the best laid plans and all that. A few years ago, my mother in-law had a stroke. This meant that John's father had to care for her. It soon became to difficult and at the (admittedly mildly aggressive) urging of their children, they sold their house and moved into independent living.

Two years ago, my mother in-law passed away in August. In the beginning, my father in-law seemed to be doing well. When I traveled to Texas the Christmas afterward, I took him to church (he was going on his own), on Christmas eve. He was going out and about on trips, exercising in the facility and more. I suspect now that he was putting on a good show. His daughter  lived two hours away and is still working in a position that requires long hours. Another daughter lives three hours away, and his son lived five hours away and also holds an executive job. They traveled to see him, they took him to his medical appointments and they visited as much as it could, but unfortunately it was not enough. While I was not there, I suspect depression had set in as well.

One year ago, my sister in-law's husband suggested that Jim move in with them, in their house, three hours away. That is what happened, and it has been a blessing all around (from what I see and hear as an occasional visitor). While I traveled last Christmas, I saw my Jim in Dallas as he had taken the train up for the holiday. This time, I managed to travel to Killeen with my daughter, and spend some quality time with all three member of the family down there.

I am happy to say that it works and it works well. Admittedly my father in-law has deteriorated. He's been in the hospital with sepsis a couple times, and his balance and energy have gone downhill a bit. He has chronic low grade diarrhea which limits his ability to go out much these days (although I was there when his nurse came and he is still very strong). His goal is to get his strength and balance back so he is able to walk his bulldog puppy. He has been diagnosed with some dementia (he told me three times in a morning that he still does the hard crossword puzzle every day, and yet he remembered every single street he lived on as a boy).

 In short, he is very, very happy. As are my sister in-law and her husband. Admittedly, they have unique circumstances. He is retired military and going to school part time. She is retired and enjoys being at home, even though for now he is close to a full time job. They still go out, in fact they went on a cruise and had a provider in to care for him during that time. Mainly they are homebody's in retirement who decided to build a pool so that all their friends could come and visit them. They have a routine, and it works for them. We all went out for dinner while I was there, and dad being dad, paid for it all.

Every situation with an elderly parent is different, as is every family. This particular parent is financially secure enough to contribute (and his daughter is a tiger when dealing with insurance and other issues). He and my sister in-law and her husband have always had a close relationship. Their house is laid out in such a manner that he has his own bedroom and bathroom. They live in a neighborhood where friends drop by often, and he has become part of their group and welcomed by all the adults and children that visit. He's an intelligent guy who can self entertain for the most part.

We all have to do what's right for us and our parent. In my case, looking at my in laws, I suspect were my parents living, that I would need to make the same choice. 

There is no right or wrong though, when it comes to caring for our parents and other family members.

Would you have a parent live with you at this point in your life?