Eric is not feeling fond of his
father right now. Ike refused to deal with things when he was healthy, but now
he needs to be in an assisted care facility
and his assets need to be liquidated to pay for his care. In his prime,
Ike was sure he could do anything. His house is one he built by himself in the
1970’s. The problem is, he never quite finished it. He never quite finished a
lot of other projects as well. His yard reflects this. He lives on a back road
in a rural area so there is no home-owners’ association to hold him
accountable. So now his son, wanting to be kind, is faced with emptying a house
and out-buildings, doing what repairs seem feasible, and making the property
appeal to a potential buyer.
Ike never liked to make decisions but now that
his son is dealing with his property he wants to have a say about everything in
order to have a sense of control.
In order to get his father to deal with reality, Eric is asking him how likely he is to want particular items with him in his new living arrangements. Ike has a small apartment unit within a larger building so space is severely limited. He is likely to want some items from his home with him but now the time has come when he must really make decisions. Items from inside the home are more likely to fit into his apartment. These include furniture, clothing, personal care items, and sentimental items such a photos. Ike gets hung up on the things he can’t take. There are so many of them. The problem it brings up for him is the sense of regret and loss that he is not now and never will be the guy who could do everything and would get around to it all eventually.
Situations like this are cropping up all over Maine and other rural areas as the Baby Boomers of the back-to-the-land movement are advancing into old age and the generation that would never grow old has done exactly that.
Somewhere between youth and old age a tipping point occurred and went unnoticed. Remember when you could burn the candle at both ends with no ill effect? Dance until dawn? Cram all night for an exam? Those were the days, right? In those days the ratio of energy expenditure to energy recovery worked in our favor. Somewhere in middle-age we began to notice the need for some down time for recovery after exertion. By now the need for physical energy is often the determining factor in whether routine things get done. Throw in a major task like clear out the garage / shed /attic and we’re licked before we start. All we can do is work with the energy available to us. Taking stock at the beginning of the day, we can get a sense of how much energy we have. If energy is low, putter. Find minor, routine tasks and get them out of the way. Take a nap. If your energy is abundant, be careful. Don’t use it all up. This kind of a day is an illusion to trap you into three subsequent days of exhaustion following a day of great accomplishment. Take it from One Who Knows.
“Before you can do anything, you have to do something else first.”
The Baby Boomer generation has different ideas about aging than their parents had. Boomers, in general, do not embrace the idea of going lockstep through the continuing care curriculum of independent living, on to assisted-living, and finally, to skilled nursing and/or dementia care. Also, most Baby Boomers haven’t laid up enough of a nest egg to carry them through retirement. Thus we all want to remain in our own homes as we grow old. The word is out and a whole range of products and services have emerged to serve that desire, from universal design, along with retrofitting the current home, to technology to monitor us. But what about the cultch that surrounds us? We’ve been shopping and inheriting stuff for decades. Before the carpenters can come in do their work, the space needs to be cleared to give them access.