Have you downsized?

marti8aDecember 13, 2013

The problem I'm finding is that downsizing in my area means an older home or a cheap tract home (without the cheap price).

My home is nothing special, but we've spent the last 5 years updating, and it's nice. I've been looking at the real estate websites and everything that meets our criteria is so out of date.

If you downsized to a home that was not as nice as the one you left, how did you come to terms with it?

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I didn't really downsize but moved near the downtown area. You get a lot less home for your money. Also, the house was built in the 80s and the original homeowner never updated in those 33 years. You kind of have to go with the flow. I'm slowly working on it. Wish I had completed all the work before moving in but hated apartment living.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 12:27AM
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We downsized to about 700 sq ft but I think our taste is different than yours since we like vintage and older homes. We embraced the vintagey-ness and went with it.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 10:46AM
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My mom downsized, but it was into a nicer, new home. She loves it, but she did have to get rid of a lot to fit into the 1,000 sq. ft. space :)

Do you have to move? Are you moving closer to family? Can they move closer to you? Your house is looking so nice, it's too bad you have to sell.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 2:46PM
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The problem with most home older than 40-50 years are that they are pier and beam foundation and mother-in-law can't do the steps.

We don't have to move LL, but it would be better for mil if we lived closer to her, like within 5 minutes, and in town because she doesn't need to be driving on highways anymore. So her moving out here wouldn't work.

She is lonely and unhappy, especially when she doesn't see someone for a day or two, and when her power went out the other day, she didn't have anywhere to go. Her apartment (and that's another story) is all electric so she just put on her coat and went to bed. ;) And the roads were too bad for us to get into town to go get her.

Dh spends a lot of time driving over to her house to do things for her, and I really think a lot of it is that she is just lonely, even though he usually stops at her apartment on his way home from work.

The plan is to find two smaller houses within a few blocks of each other. We don't mind a little work, and know that we will probably have to rebuild her bathroom to make it accessible.

What I'm learning is that smaller, older houses have pretty cramped bathrooms and will be hard to make accessible. We thought we might be able to find a foreclosure or fixer, but what I saw today is that those are more than likely to have foundation problems and I really don't want to deal with foundation problems again.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 10:29PM
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What part of the country are you in?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 11:00PM
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I'm in Texas

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 11:15AM
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marti- I'm dealing with the idea of moving but need more room - I'm too cramped with my 1st floor space and can't comfortably make use of my upstairs or basement, so I am considering one level on a slab; nothing I would ever even considered before - as with this option I will have FAR less overall square footage, and only gain about 200 sq first floor space...and oh all the stuff I'll have to get rid of! My current home is nice as I've updated, too, and the ones I've looked at are were not kept up so I know what you mean.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 1:13PM
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That's what I thought. Texas has alot of soil issues. Have you thought about building with a MIL suite? Cheaper than buying 2 homes.

This post was edited by finallyhome on Sun, Dec 15, 13 at 20:43

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 8:42PM
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No, can't do the mil suite. Not and keep my sanity.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 9:20PM
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What about a small three bedroom house...and make one of the bedrooms into a handicap accessible bathroom? That would leave one bedroom as a study/guest room....or maybe a bedroom/original bath for a live in care-giver, down the road.

If you could find something like this, near a larger home for you and DH...that might work well. You would be nearby, but you would not be expected to have her 'move in' over the next few years, since her home would be suited to her needs for some time. If there was easy access to the outside (few steps or a ramp) she should be able to live there very comfortably. Even with an illness or limitation, I don't think she would have to move, unless a nursing home level of care was ever necessary.

As for you and DH...anything within ten minutes should be fine. If you move too close, it will be like having a MIL suite. Great if you want that short distance, but it doesn't sound like that would be your first choice.

IMHO, it's much better to be honest about what you can do and not do, then to pretend a situation will work if you know it won't. Moving closer might be very nice, but too close...and you might be better off remodeling the garage.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 1:58PM
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I just downsized to a house that's 40% smaller than the previous house. The current house is quite old (30 years) compared to the previous one (10 years), and we need to replace all the old HVAC systems, appliances, remodel bathrooms, etc. All the rooms are either small or long and narrow. The master bathroom is as small as our previous powder room. It's definitely not as nice as the previous house, but it's in a much better location and has all the features we want (e.g. large wooded lot, no pool, no lawn, sitting on a hill with great view, etc). It's also a custom home and thus very unique.

Anyway, I moved in early this month, and have been deep cleaning the current house non-stop ever since, and are still not ready to unpack any non-essential stuff...we haven't used the stove either...because a lot of things inside the house were extremely gross, to the point that we feel traumatized. It will be another while before we become emotionally ready to start cooking at home. I also don't want to put away things until all the necessary remodels are complete.

I guess what keeps us going is, we know that all the interiors can be easily changed out sooner or later. The house will be a great house once everything is updated. We plan to remodel the master suite first, then the kitchen, then other bathrooms and bedrooms. It's not going to be cheap, but it will probably be worth it, as we really like the exterior, the lot, and the location, and plan to stay here for a while.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Mon, Dec 16, 13 at 14:41

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Cookie- Does this mean you're no longer thinking about building?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 4:48PM
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LL - I am still thinking about building. It probably won't happen in the near future though. We looked at all the available lots near where we live, and realized we cannot afford to build in a good location. The lot alone would eat up most of our building budget.

There was one hill-top lot that I had my eye on for over a year, but it didn't work out in the end. The reason is, the adjacent lots have been flattened and huge retaining walls have been built. This means we would need to do the same with this lot, and building the retaining walls alone would cost $150K. This was not planned in our budget...

Anyway, I will still be playing with floor plans, hoping that we can find a suitable and affordable lot in the future. :)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 6:11PM
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Cookie- It sounds like this home is going to be great, once you get everything sorted out! Do you plan to do any remodeling (opening up smaller spaces to each other) or just cleaning/painting?

Marti- I think this may end up being a lot of fun, once you find the right house. You said you weren't always happy with your overall layout...and with the kids grown, you can set it up the way YOU want it! Maybe a big, bright kitchen with lots of windows, overlooking the garden? Open to a nice dining and sitting area...with DH's family room (and recliner) a few steps away?

And maybe take one of the bedrooms and make it a closet and big bathroom. That would be neat! I would love to have a claw foot tub...and maybe an armoire for storage. Okay (sorry) now we're in my dream home! LOL

Anyway, I hope you find something with lots of potential that makes you look forward, to moving into town :)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 7:51PM
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LL, the small home for mil with another for us not far away was exactly what I was thinking. I spent the day with mil today and I've changed my way of thinking a bit. I knew she was lonely, but she said she dreads getting through each day and every night is worse. She is so depressed that she cries every night when she goes to bed.

I also talked to the county building and planning lady today and found out some things. For one thing, we would be allowed to add a mother-in-law suite to our house in the county but not within city limits. And dh is a ham radio operator and that also wouldn't be allowed in the city.

If we could find a house that had two master suites, we could add on just enough to give her a living room and kitchenette, and her own front door. Or if the house is arranged right, we could add on her suite. And later, convert every but the bedroom back to garage or workshop.

Not the ideal situation, but we don't know how much longer she will be with us, and I can't stand knowing she is miserable by herself most of the time. Today was enjoyable and she didn't baby talk or do much of her hypochondriac stuff so I am encouraged.

But we still have to sell our house and find the right house at the right price, which probably means another fixer, but not to the degree as the one we are in now.

ILoveCookie, it sounds like you have done exactly as I described. Unfortunately, we haven't found any older homes that were custom or even had good bones.

Update: I just called a couple of the cities we were considering, and one of them allows ham radio towers. The other city hasn't called me back.

This post was edited by marti8a on Tue, Dec 17, 13 at 12:05

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:53PM
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LL - yeah, we are going to remodel the master suite first. The master bath is tiny, dark and moldy, and I think that has to be changed right away. For the rest of the house, we are just trying to clean out as much as we can, and do some touch up here and there. Maybe apply a fresh coat of paint next year. Kitchen remodel is also on our list, but not top priority.

I love the look of claw foot tub! It's in my dream home too. :)

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Mon, Dec 16, 13 at 21:02

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:57PM
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Have you thought about a duplex? I see the area you are in and there appears to be lots of options. The link below is a quick listing of properties selling both sides.

The ones within the city tend to be older and 2 story, more expensive and require more rehab. But, as a future investment, you wouldn't believe what rents are these days in the city.

The newer properties (built after 1980) are mostly 1 story. There looks to be one in all the suburbs (north, south, east or west.)

(Hopefully this is allowed. I have no interest in the site. It is just easy to use.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Duplexes

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:32PM
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There are very few duplexes, in the towns we are looking at, and the nice ones have never come up for sale while I've been looking (about a year). There was one duplex, bad shape, in low income, high crime area. Also, duplexes are very hard to sell outside the city. People who want out of the city want a house and a little land.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 11:12AM
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Your MIL sounds so sad. It's difficult when an older person starts to depend on you for ALL their needs. I went through that with my grandmother (who I love and miss everyday...she was great!) but it's still difficult.

Have you and your DH ever discussed a retirement home? Do they have any nice ones in your area? Even the name has such a bad sound to it, but we have some lovely ones in our area. They have separate apartments and all kinds of activities for people to do everyday. They eat together, go shopping...even go to the casino! LOL

We have lots of hospitals in Spokane and close to the Air Force base, so lots of retired people and huge demand for NICE retirement places, assisted living, bungalows, etc. My grandmother lived in a couple of beautiful places (one looked like a really nice hotel) and they were paid for on a monthly basis.

I don't know if this option would work for you or not...but just thought I'd mention it. What my grandmother really misssed was having someone to talk to. Ideally, she would have liked to live with my mom (which she did for a while) and have someone home to visit with her all the time, but as her health deteriorated she needed more assistance. And we worried about her being home alone, while we were all at work.

Best of luck with the home search and I know you'll come up with a plan that will work for everyone! Give you MIL a hug from me :)

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 12:54PM
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I will give her your hug, and thank you LL.

As long as her mind is clear, she won't go to a nursing home. Our experience with the home fil was in wasn't good, and she blames them for his death. She might go to an assisted living, but she isn't ready for that yet she says. There is one across the street from her apartment, and she has a friend who lives there and gets her hair cut there, so she has some insider info I guess.

We'll just get our house finished, put it on the market, and see what happens.

I talked to my sis in law today, and told her what we have been discussing. She has her hands full with her mother and she thinks mil should just suck it up and get on with living. But she has never really gotten along with mil either.

This post was edited by marti8a on Tue, Dec 17, 13 at 22:13

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Wow, that's kind of harsh...even if they don't get along.

Nursing homes are rough and I saw them with my grandmother and more recently, my husband. There wasn't anywhere else for him to stay, while he recuperated from the long hospital stay. It was fairly nice and friendly staff (for the most part) but not some place I'd recommend to anyone who didn't have to live there.

Assisted living is tricky...ideally, they're separate apartments with small kitchenette (usually fridge, microwave, sink) and usually are studio style or separate bedroom(s). The larger the space the more expensive it is...and they can be expensive!

Retirement apartments (the nice ones) are usually far less expensive (less nursing available) but sometimes in the same complex as assisted living. This is a nice combination, since there is usually someone that can be called, in case of emergency and the ambulances are more familiar with their set up. Apartments have the advantage of being all inside (again the good ones) with access to a dining area, library, media area, activities room, even church services. I don't know if they have anything like this where you are, but again, we have a huge demand for retirement places in our area.

No matter what, I would encourage your MIL to find some place to visit and make friends. There are senior centers in our area as well and sometimes living close enough to easily access one makes a huge difference. If she's still driving, she may not be for much longer...so that will play a part, too. Does she use the Internet? If not, would she want to try it if it were easy for her to use? Maybe a wireless mouse and using the TV as a monitor?

My mom just replaced her TV and I couldn't believe how much new TVs can do! It actually is called a 'smart TV' and it was very affordable, due to Black Friday sale. Same price as regular 35" TV...and Netflix is automatically uploaded. It doesn't need a computer, to use it. I'm not really very tech-savvy, so this impressed me to no end! (LOL)

Anyway, whatever you decide, make sure YOU are not her only means of transportation or entertainment. That's not fair to you or to her...and it would be almost impossible for anyone to do that for an extended period of time...and still get anything else accomplished. It's like taking care of a child (full time) but that child wants to make their own decisions and have a say in where and when they will go somewhere. This is not meant as a slight to an older person...just my own experience. If you can sit down and talk about it (unemotionally) then it can work out...Grandma was wonderful about that! If not....then I would try to figure out a way to make all this work, before you do anything else.

Again, just my two cents and I hope you and your MIL and DH all find a very happy compromise to all this...and lovely homes to live in :)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 2:22PM
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If your MIL can stand apartment living and being around old people, could you apply to get her into a govt. subsidized senior housing center? They often have waiting lists of several months to several years, they take 1/3 of your monthly income as rent, after they subtract out medical expenses from your income, and many have a hot meal at noon time 5 days a week for only a few dollars. (In my experience, we never think of ourselves as being as old as we are in real life. When my Great Aunt was 75, she was employed to supervise the warming of the meals in steam trays at a senior lunch center. She always referred to it as, "taking care of the seniors. Of course, she was not one of them!") That way, if it does not work out, she will have an alternative living arrangement available to her. She may do better having a community of people instead of just you and your hubby. She will maintain some independence longer, as well.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 2:40AM
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We looked into that before they moved here nancy, and I think it would be great for her. The one here doesn't have any meals, but they have a lot of activities. She doesn't want to move there as long as she is driving because they don't have garages and she doesn't want to have to walk to a carport. Shoot, she drives across the street to get her mail.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Oh Marti, I see warning flags. Think about a few things. Ask DH if your MiL ever kept a close friend or two, had regular activities that she did without family involvement, and if she has ever been a happy person (without the intervention of her DH doing something to make it happen). Did her DH wait on her hand and foot? Does she always expect others to do something so that she can be happy?

If she was never independently happy with friends and activities of her own, you may not want to have her move in with you or even want to become her sole source of fun and happiness or even support. It takes too much out of you. It sucks you dry. The clue that set my hackles on end was the baby talk. One of my nursing home clients had that tone of voice - she used pouting and manipulation on her husband. When he died, the family would not kow-tow to her wishes and she was alone. Blind and in the nursing home and people almost never visited.

If your mother in law turns out to be a depressed person who refuses to do anything about being depressed and is just waiting for someone else to fix things, it will get to you, and you will not do well, either. The other daughter in law was another clue. Her lack of empathy made me think that she (and maybe her husband) see the MIL as someone who is not willing to do their own share of work to feel better.

Things your mother in law can do about being depressed start with talking with her doctor. Tell the doc how your MIL just stayed in bed when she had no electricity instead of finding help and ask if she is thinking and problem-solving clearly. (Your MIL would have to agree to let you go in with her to see the doc.) A lot of medications can have side effects that could be influencing how she feels. She also could have medical issues making her feel worse lately. If the depressed mood is nothing new, her options can include seeking medication (not always the best first step) by seeing a psychiatrist or her own doctor, calling the Area Agency on Aging and seeing if they have a support group that fits (ie: widows, depressed older ladies), or seeing if an individual therapist or counselor or psychologist is available to her through a senior agency, county services, or her health insurances.

Before selling your house that you just finished remodeling, see if you can get a better support system set up for MIL. Suggest some groups for her to join. Is their a senior bus in town? Have her ride it (instead of driving) to the senior center to participate in something that interests her there. Sign her up for Meals on Wheels for the winter, if she qualifies. Get her a Lifeline service and have them do daily checks so they can notify you if she has no electricity again. Put her on the list for the police/sheriff to check on in weather emergencies.

By widening her support systems, you get her used to not relying on only you. If you live with her in a MIL suite, YOU ARE IT. The time may come when she needs that, but don't ask for it before you have to!

You may remember that we shared our home with my dear FIL for five years before he died. He was bedbound for two and a half of those years. The reason we could do that was that he was totally with it mentally, he was the sweetest, kindest man who did not want to inconvenience anyone, and he put up with the measures we felt we had to use to keep him safe (we had a "Daddy Monitor" on anytime someone was not actually sitting in his room with him.). He was a joy to care for and it almost killed us. He was a saint and we had my DH's brother and sister to help and we almost all wanted to check into a looney bin by the time it was done. He had the money to pay for care givers from 7 am to 6 pm five days a week and we had the best couple of ladies in the world and we felt like the only room in the house that belonged to us was our bedroom!

I am all for families taking care of their own, but Marti, if you and your DH are the only two involved, think hard and don't jump in and give up you own independence before you absolutely have to do so.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:53PM
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You've got some valid points Nancy, and many are the reasons I have been saying I couldn't live with her, and I can't live in the same house with her. It would have to be a separate unit so I can have time to myself. I am not Olivia Walton.

I've known mil for almost for almost 40 years and know most of the answers to your questions. She & fil lived in the same town for over 50 years, and she had/has many close friends, was very involved at church. It was really hard for her to uproot and move down here, but she knew she couldn't take care of fil by herself, especially after fil was overmedicated one time, hallucinating and walking around at all hours. She called both sons and they drove the 7 hours up there and spent the weekend and back on Sunday night. And then dh was dead tired at work. Dh told her he couldn't do that again at his age and having a real job. Bil is self employed so it wasn't as hard on him.

Fil didn't wait on her hand and foot, it was the other way around. I think that's one reason she is depressed; she doesn't know what to do with herself. She never had any hobbies other than fishing and traveling with fil. Her life revolved around him, cooking, cleaning, and doing all the finances. She did most of the driving too for the last several years.

They joined senior citizens when they first moved here, but they didn't like it, and mil hasn't gone back since fil died. I asked her to go there and play bingo with me, and she said she would, but she backed out at the last minute. She sleeps late, and it takes her an hour to get dressed and ready to go anywhere, and then it's lunch time, and then time for a nap, and then time to cook dinner, eat and go to bed. That's her life these days and she says she's too tired to join anything that requires her being at a certain place at a certain time.

As a couple, they didn't really make friends here because of fil. He had Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and was very hard of hearing even with his hearing aids. They went to church, but most of the time they stayed home. After fil died, some widows took her into their little group and that was great for mil. But over the last year, one moved, one went into a nursing home, and one has cancer. Mil has become really close to one of the two remaining widows but that woman is 94 so who knows how long she'll be here.

The baby talking drives me insane, but I know why she does it, and why she is a hypochondriac. She was the youngest of 9 and that's how she got attention and she never stopped. My father was the youngest of 7 and he was a hypochondriac also. He once told my mother that the only time he ever had his mother's complete attention was when he was sick. Understanding why she does it doesn't make it any easier to be around though.

She did talk to her dr here about her depression and he put her on an antidepressant but she couldn't tolerate it. Honestly, if my dh died and I was 86 and in a town where I really only knew 4 or 5 people, I'd be depressed too.

The rift between sil and mil happened 35 years ago and it was because of mil's beliefs on divorce, and sil was divorced before marrying bil. Also, bil was the favorite son and he would drop everything to do what his mother wanted which didn't sit well with sil. My dh didn't jump when his mother called, and wasn't called upon as much either, until mil had it out with sil a couple of years ago and finally ticked off bil. That's when she started leaning on dh more.

I wish there was something like an Area Agency on Aging here but we would have to go to Dallas and I can't see her going if it weren't local. If there is anything in my county for her, other than the senior citizen's center, I can't find it.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 11:39PM
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That is a tough situation. She is depressed, but it is not necessarily the kind of thing we think of taking medication to cure. With elders, medications are tricky. The psychiatrist I worked with would think nothing of prescribing meds for somebody in her situation, but we saw people who were observed all day because they lived in nursing homes.

Has her doc checked her vitamin D and B12 levels? Both have become important again lately. Both can easily go low and are available over the counter.

I can relate to the late sleep, taking an hour to dress, etc. But then I stay up on the computer half the night! If she can't deal with the obligation of having to be somewhere at a certain time, maybe you can ask her if she is willing to do something with little planning when she is having a better day. So you call her each day after her wake-up time. If the weather is nice, invite her to do what you are doing (grocery shopping, whatever) or to go out for lunch or anything else at all. Just getting her out at all on any day might be what is needed. Your kids are away at college, right? Would your DH be able to see her for lunch once a week, or go get her to bring her out for lunch on the weekend?

Lifeline is a service through American Red Cross. It is the "help me I can't get up" button. You might have that available.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 12:16AM
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Does she like to garden? Does she like flowers? Does she like tea? Is there anything you can join together that will have women attending, who are both your ages?

She needs a new group! If you can find something that you both enjoy (or can at least tolerate) and meet some fun people, that might be a place to start.

The baby talk would be annoying, but the only way I can see to do anything about it (at this point) is to reward her for not doing it. When she does the baby talk, pretend not to hear her....unless it's important. When she repeats it again, in a normal tone, respond and make a point of smiling and paying attention to her. Compliment her if possible and show her you enjoy having her around. It might be too subtle at first, but she will sub-consciously catch on after a while. It's why the baby talk started in the first place, right?

Marti- I'm proud of you for taking this on, but Nancy is right. Don't be her only lifeline. Make sure you can bring some other people into your lives and you might be surprised if you start having more fun, too. I hope so and I wish I could sit in the garden and have tea with you both...and the rest of the Smaller Homes forum! We'd have a good time :)

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 2:47PM
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I can relate to the late sleeping too Nancy, but mine is because I just can't get to sleep at night. I don't call her every day but I do call and invite her to go with me any time I have a shopping trip that is more than a dash to town, and we usually eat lunch while we're out. My kids have been out of college for several years and both have moved out of state which makes me understand her feeling that she has nothing to live for anymore. Dh usually stops at her apartment on his way home from work so she has something to look forward to and to do anything she needs.

I don't know if her dr has tested for D & B12 but I bet he has. His parents are about the same age as mil and he really bonded with mil, more than with us and we knew him long before he went to medical school.

She probably needs the lifeline service, but we've mentioned it and she doesn't think she needs it yet. But she does drag her feet at times and fell downtown once when she was alone.

LL, that's the problem. Mil has very few interests. She likes to play games and that 94 yo friend I mentioned is the only one who wants to play games with her. I wish I could get her to go to senior citizens and play games there, but she wants people to come to her house.

I have never acknowledged her when she baby talks. I made the mistake once of saying I couldn't understand her when she baby talked and she looked at me with a shocked expression and said she didn't baby talk. So now I just say 'what?' until she says it right. Being around the other widows has really helped that though. I'm sure they gave her funny looks if she did it, because she doesn't do it anymore when we're out in public.

Dh & I think she needs a dog. She'd have company and it would make her get up in the morning and get out and walk too. But she really doesn't like pets so I doubt she'd ever get one.

It's too bad all her widow friends, both here and in our hometown, have moved to different places. It would be great if they could all go to the same retirement home or assisted living. But they've done the same as mil and moved closer to their kids.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 4:59PM
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What games does she like to play? If you do move to closer to each other, could you have people come over to her house (or take her to theirs) to play games?

Games are great because they make you use your brain! My grandmother loved Trivial Pursuit and watching Jeopardy. She read all the time, too :)

Does she like cats? They don't have to be walked and can be very good companions. Mine have always wanted a lot of affection and one in particular stayed with me every night, when my husband was in the hospital. He now gets up with my husband in the morning and watches him do his 'laps' in the morning with his walker. My husband calls him 'coach' when he does this! LOL

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:51PM
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I posted this on the other thread...but it's so cute I thought I'd post it here, too :) From Kitchen plans

Main floor..... From Kitchen plans

Basement rec room area.... From Kitchen plans

Might be even better, if one spare bedroom was added to the MIL suite to make that space a little larger. This would make for a larger handicap accessible bathroom and a separate washer/dryer. Maybe a small table space, too!

Just in case you do decide to pool your resources and live in one larger house. I like the separate entry, shared porch and that the bedrooms are not too close to each other. You have to travel through the living room and around...and there's a kitchen/living area in the MIL suite.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 10:17PM
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I saw that one too and it's pretty. The problems in it for us is that it doesn't have a laundry or garage access, and I'm not sure any of the neighborhoods we've looked at would allow it since it has the separate entrance (would be classified as a duplex). I called the county not long ago and they are very accommodating for people taking care of an elderly relative, but there are still things they won't allow. And it would be hard to sell around here too.

If we do this we'll look for a split bedroom with a master near the garage and we'll turn the garage into the rest of the mil suite, and build another garage onto that. Then later, the suite can be turned into dh's shop and we won't have a large section of house that isn't used but being taxed as living area.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 12:31PM
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Lavender like Marti said we too are looking for separat laundry.

Marti- I couldn't believe how hard it was to find an area that would allow a "duplex". Even when I was miles outside of the city. We have gotten clearances provided the second entrance is not visible from the front of home. And can be either a second structure or connected. It seems if you only want a kitchenette then the zoning commissions had no problem but the second you added a stove... Sheesh.

Just wanted to commiserate with you.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 4:46PM
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You are in a tough position right now, but please think long and hard about selling a home you really like. That process alone is major stress and if you end up with a home you don't like as well, you will be very resentful and unhappy.

Are there any small homes/apartments, etc. that are closer to your current home that your MIL can move to? If she refuses to consider that option and expects you to do all the changing to suit her, I would take that as a warning sign of things to come. Some people, even those we love dearly, are quite good at manipulating. Believe me,I speak from personal experience. A loved one, even one elderly and depressed, still has a responsibility in their own lives and happiness. You may make all these changes and she will STILL not be happy. In fact, that is the most likely scenario.

Personally, I would never sell a home that I loved. You have a right to your own life and to be happy. When someone's needs change they are the ones that have to come to terms with that, and should be willing to do what is required of them in exchange for the love and care you are giving them. That may sound harsh to some, but I would never expect my children to compromise their happiness for me. If and when the time comes, like it or not, it is I that will do the bending. You may also find that once you set your terms, she may change and start making an effort. In the end, it is only your MIL that can make your MIL happy. You and your husband can certainly enhance her happiness, but you cannot create it for her.

My mother is a very difficult woman. All the while she's telling me how lonely she is, she is nasty and saying she doesn't want to talk and doesn't want anyone to visit. Some people can never be pleased. It isn't that she changed so much in old age. It's just that the old age has made it more pronounced. This may not be the case with your MIL, but regardless it sounds like you really do not want to move. So you shouldn't.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 12:27PM
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While we have gotten the house just the way we like it, we'd like to be able to get some money out of it before either the market tanks again or we wait too long and all our improvements are "dated".

When dh retires we are moving to the state where our children live. If we have to rent for a few years before that happens, I'll deal with it. But it would be nice to find a house that suits our needs, mil's needs, and is cheap enough to resell easily when the time comes.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 1:51PM
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Yes and no, our last house house had 1265 sq ft and a full finished basement, so 2530 sq ft finished total...our new house, since 2005, has 1640 sq ft on the first floor and an unfinished basement of 1240....So less finished sq ft ...But we have a 3 car garage on this one....and it was newly built.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 9:53PM
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" She sleeps late, and it takes her an hour to get dressed and ready to go anywhere, and then it's lunch time, and then time for a nap, and then time to cook dinner, eat and go to bed. That's her life these days and she says she's too tired to join anything that requires her being at a certain place at a certain time. "

She sounds much like me! are you my long lost DIL? lol!

I've been sleeping til about 11 or noon for months. then it takes me an hr or so to get my meds in me and eat something... then a few more hrs for my meds to kick in. Would be better I guess if I set the alarm to take my meds in the wee hr so my system didn't need the jump charge...
It's almost 5 pm here and I just ate for today about an hr ago. I think I took my meds - but I'm not sure. (need to work on how to account for that. like putting out specific # of pills the night before).

I haven't been going out much either - but then, I'm ok with that. I like being alone with me. I certainly don't want to live with one of my kids - lol! They'd take great pleasure in grounding me I'm sure...

Do they have 'visiting angels' there? check with the senior center. or check websites of you senators/reps. I remember a few yrs back when I wrote Kyle for help getting my disability. The disability office contacted me w/in 30 days of my letter to him. They had a number of offices and ph #s listed on his website for seniors needing help.

I see promos for 'visiting angels' on tv. Someone who comes in once a day or few times a wk to help and check on seniors - and to talk to them.
I talk to my dog a lot...and myself. I know I ramble on too much when Jed is here doing things for me. He's like family now and besides I'm paying him!

I seldom go out these days. I evidently hate going out now. Once I'm out 'there' I'm ok as long as I'm not gone long - then I get very tired and in pain. I can spend hrs trying to talk me into going somewhere and then convince myself it can wait until 'tomorrow' - or I go out and wonder why I stewed over it in the first place!

yep, I drive myself crazy - it's a short trip.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 7:05PM
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Well I have a lot of that myself Steph. I don't get out a lot either and can talk myself out of going. I've got great excuses: there's a tv show I like at noon and I'd miss it, my hair is a wreck and it'd take an hour to fix it, it's cold, it's windy, it's hot, the sun is too bright. I could go on. lol

I didn't realize I had voiced all my gripes in this thread. I should go delete the other one. I should have just pulled this one up from wherever it was and said I was getting discouraged.

But jeepers, when a house that needs to be gutted is priced too high to affordably fix, I feel like giving up.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 4:26PM
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you're reading from my excuse list marti! lol...

don't worry about posting too many gripes here - you'll find you're in good company. We all have 'em. You've got at least a double dose right now w/MIL and the house thing.

as for the house value/pricing, when I've sold a house (or bought one) they always started with a price for the area involving sf and age (maybe something else) then did + / - the $s for other things like garage, new kitchen, bath, FP, new roof, landscaping etc. Doesn't sound like yours is doing that. I'd be checking around for another local opinion.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:47PM
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Can we gripe??? :)

I've had the septic back up, a leaky dishwasher mess up my kitchen floor and now my siding is a mess from the septic repair! That's just this week (LOL) but it's always something! At least the horses are all good and my husband is feeling much better...so you take the good with the bad, right?

Marti- I think you are wonderful, not complaining too much. This would be a big change and it's a lot to consider. You don't want to get pushed into something that's going to be too much of a challenge, but I do think you'll find something.

What's worked for me is to write down everything you HAVE to have, everything you'd LIKE to have and a few things you would LOVE to have, but probably can't afford. Then, carry your list around (put it on some pretty paper) and keep it with you for the next month. Write down other ideas that come to you and maybe cross off anything that doesn't seem to fit.

As you get an idea of what you really want and need, you might just be surprised that the right house will suddenly be available. Be ready! It might come unexpectedly, but it will be exactly what you all need. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the right house will find you, before late summer and you're all going to be very happy :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:17PM
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Thank you both. I go from looking forward to change, to regret, to fear of the unknown, and then start all over again. lol

LL, there is NOTHING worse than a septic backup. Was it cleanable or do you have to rip out anything? But you have the right perspective, your horses are fine and your dh is improving.

A friend, and my insurance agent, told me about a senior housing development in a nearby town. I had looked at it before and thought it was great, but there are seldom any houses for rent or sale there. However, I drove by it the other day and there is a duplex type unit for rent, and there is a vacant lot (no for sale sign) down the street. If dh was willing, I'd contact the owners of the lot and see if they were interested in selling. It is not in the senior neighborhood and backs up to a pretty scuzzy neighborhood. Still, if the location is right for us, maybe someone else would see the value in living near the senior units when it came time to sell. And with that lot, we might even have room to build a house with a mil suite.

You know what I'd really like to do is build. But dh wants no part of it. He also hasn't spent any time looking at the available houses.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 9:39PM
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Septic worked out fine! Had to scrub one of the showers (mostly laundry back up) but otherwise, not too bad.

The outside was more taking off skirting to get to the septic...not actual septic mess. Sorry, if that sounded misleading. I'd much rather fix the skirting! LOL

The senior housing development sounds like a good idea! And I am surprised your DH hasn't been more involved with looking. It is his mom, but he may think you know what you want in the new house. I think building sounds like a good idea, especially with the MIL suite. Does your DH not like the idea of building, the price, or both? At least the work would be done up front, rather than long term remodeling! :)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 3:38AM
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Sorry, but I don't like the idea of you building near a scuzzy area :(

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 11:04AM
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I'm not either ellendi, but it is just a half block from the senior housing. But since it's not listed for sale, more than likely the owners won't want to sell anyway.

LL, dh has his head in the sand. I think he just wants the situation to go away.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:17PM
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Well, that's not helping. What does he want to do? Does he want to move or just stay in your current home?

Did you say there's no way to add on or remodel the garage for your MIL? If you're considering a duplex, that's practically living together, anyway. Maybe your DH could lose his shop (if he has one) or park in the driveway?

When my grandmother and grandfather were alive, there was a time we thought about remodeling our parents' garage for them. (This was decades ago, when I was in grade school.) I thought it was a great idea, but the plumbing/sewer issues were too expensive and they ended up buying a small house across town.

Looking back, it would have been the perfect solution, since my grandmother eventually ended up moving back in with us, years later. It would be nice to have older family members close enough to help get to the store, check on them, have them walk over for dinner or tea, but still have your own spaces.

I hope you find something that works for you. And tell your DH that I expect him to start looking at options! LOL

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 5:34PM
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Marti, you have said that your DH stops by to see his mother each day after work. You see her a couple days a week, it sounds like. I would suggest getting her into the senior housing if she is willing, continuing with what you are doing toward that, and seeing how that goes.

If DH is not "getting into" plans to move your household to help his mother, that is a clue to something. Is he going to be ready when you find the right house and want to get moving? When you find the right property and floor plan? He does not sound on board with your ideas right now. Maybe it is time to get his mother settled into a safer environment, continue visits to her, and keep talking to each other about what is good for the two of you. Yes, it could be that he just wants the issue to go away and will be really happy that you have the solution all figured out and he will be ready to pull the trigger and implement your plans when you find the perfect solution. Or you may drag him kicking and screaming (well, sulking and stalling) into something only to have him blame you somewhere down the line when he is unhappy about a move. Or you may get to contract signing day or closing day and he backs down.

I would talk with him more before proceeding with plans for moving your household. Yes, taking care of our elders is our responsibility. We need to do it. His family does not sound like one accustomed to open communication. Wait for him to be more on board about a plan before committing to a move. You also have to have MIL on board in order to move her. If she is willing to consider the Senior Apartment, take her to see it. If she is not, you will have to wait. All the things that "need to be done" to prevent a fall, an undiscovered illness, and tragedy are clear to you. You want to do them. You are willing to forgo your own happiness and your own needs to do them. But it won't happen if the principle people involved are not on board. It is not unusual for an elder to have a hospitalization or two before they accept the call button or a move to more appropriate housing. You are trying to prevent that. You have the very best intentions, but....

You can lead a horse to water...

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:35PM
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If she sold her home would she consider(and afford!)moving into a retirement home that is equal to a 5 star hotel? I went to visit my 7 year old grandson over the holidays, and his class visited a retirement home to sing Christmas carols. This is a chain of upscale retirement homes most housed in buildings which were once hotels, and will admit, on the pricey side.

The one I visited was in Laguna Hills, Ca. Here's the link to your is Dallas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Deluxe Retirement home

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 7:45PM
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