We learned about a reverse mortgage on the family home. This was a practical financial solution when Carol was alive. The loan product allowed them to convert part of the equity in the home into cash without having to sell the house or pay additional monthly bills out of pocket.
The conversation kept circling back to William requiring extra care since the Alzheimer's diagnosis, but is it too soon for a memory care community?
“Dad is an ornery, opinionated old man better left on his own,” mumbled Sean, loud enough for the neighbors to hear.
The kids moved away from home years ago—a noticeable tension brewing between Josh and Sean, a bit more than typical brother rivalry. There was an air of disapproval I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
Carol had been William’s caretaker and did a fine job filling in the necessary blanks throughout his day. William cannot tell you his address, telephone number, or what was on the menu for breakfast. Still, he can articulate in grave detail what it was like cutting through the Atlantic Ocean on a battleship, the smell of his wife’s perfume, or how he took his children to the same park nearly every Sunday for years after church.
Kimberly decided to book the next flight to L.A.
The following morning I met her at the family home. Thick leaves and brush covered most signs, so if you didn’t know where you were going, you wouldn’t have been able to find it. A traditional house perched up on a soggy Los Feliz hill. It was overwhelming to think about all the packing and sorting that had to be done before the move even took place, let alone getting her father on board with a memory care community. Everything, all of the tasks seemed like moving targets.
This was a larger house with a lot going on. Maintaining a spacious property is a challenging task. Imagine doing it in your old age.
Retirement is supposed to be a period in a person’s life when they can finally step away from all responsibilities and enjoy peace. However, that might not be as easy as it sounds if you have a large house to upkeep – especially if your children are long moved out, and you have little or no help.
Shipping boxes collecting dust in tall stacks and the smell of wet dogs and mothballs. We were touring the dining room when creaking floorboards announced William’s arrival.“Hello,” William said as if framed as a question. His hand was warm and rough - firm grip—a petite-framed man.
Piercing grey eyes hid unsuccessfully behind dirty lenses. “You see that picture over there,” he had said, waving his arm around like an air traffic controller. “That one right there.” Suddenly it was as if we were old pals.
We toured the rest of the property with William in tow. Taking story breaks when appropriate or reintroducing myself when necessary. We learned about William’s time serving on a BB-56 Navy battleship in WW2 and later when he was introduced to Carol, who became his loving and devoted wife and mother to his children.
By the end of the meeting, we decided a garage sale was smart. Getting rid of the items and clutter that no longer serve William will create space for clarity and focus.