Then and Now: Part II

(Part I was published on June 8, 2011)

It’s the year 2011. A physician recommends an older woman, Patricia Pearson, can no longer live alone.  Just past her 85th birthday, her diabetes requires supervision, and her confusion is escalating. Her four adult children are scattered across the country, but ~ via emails and phone calls ~ the word reaches everyone. They are both surprised  . . . and not.

They begin calculating the number of vacation/PTO days required to sort through the family homestead. The “baby” of the family – so funny since she just celebrated her 50th birthday – is Kate.  Her mind starts to race with so many commitments: the club soccer tournament, Sara’s Madrigal concert, and her business trip to Vegas coming up. She nervously waits to hear what the others will say. The oldest, Jim, backs off completely – saying he just can’t get away. Louise, the oldest daughter and second oldest child, says “No worries, Jim . . . let me call a few people for some ideas on assisted living places near Mom. Of course, we’ll also want to connect with a senior move manager.”

Dead silence for a second or two on the phone line. Then, the others say, almost in unison, “What the heck is a senior move manager?” She laughs and you can imagine her smiling on the other end. She remembers asking her friend, Carol, the exact same question last year. Carol is her neighbor two doors down, and she told Louise she had enlisted the services of a senior move manager for her own Mom in Tampa last fall.  Louise and Carol live in suburban St. Louis. No matter. Carol located a senior move manager in Tampa, recommended by a local geriatric care manager. (Carol’s Mom had a slew of issues!) Carol couldn’t say enough about how much the senior move manager helped with the whole moving process.

Louise especially remembers how Carol told their entire book club she couldn’t imagine how overwhelmed she would have been, had she not discovered Beth, the senior move manager in Tampa. She indicated her Mom was quite “the collector.” Everyone laughed because they knew Carol was too. They listened closely to her story, and she talked for at least an hour. Carol was sure fired up about it. (That’s OK, most of them hadn’t read the book anyway.) Book club meetings were great for finding new resources and recommendations. Louise typed this particular tip into her iPhone that night, but even she didn’t expect to need it this soon.

Quickly, Jim now says, “That’s good enough for me . . . what does everyone else think?” (Jim Pearson is ALWAYS in a hurry.) They agree to explore the possibility. Louise tells her siblings she will do some investigating and let them know what she learns about costs, time frames, menu of services, etc.

They decide to reconvene next Tuesday. With their three different time zones – from Sacramento to New Jersey – they settle on 8pm Central time (Louise time) for their conference call.

Part III next week.

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