My elderly father is now 90 years old, and my mother is just three years behind him. They love their country home. It’s their life work. They love working in the yard and doing projects in the house. It shows. The place is beautiful.

Their home is the place where our whole family gathers. It’s been the venue for nearly every birthday and Christmas for over 25 years. So many wonderful  memories are tied to that place. New babies were welcomed, learned to ride their trikes, and played in the fort that my daddy built. It connects us to each other, almost as much as our blood. But I am happy to say, my parents have decided to sell it.

It was a hard decision for both my folks. Their two acres is peaceful. They’ve endured so much while living there. Both of them had major illnesses about 13 years ago. Both have recovered and thrived, partly due to the demands of taking care of their place. But the wear and tear of maintaining their place is now apparent. Both my aging parents are just plain tired and there’s no end in sight to the work that they’ll have to do if they stay in their home.

Let’s face it- living in a big house means a lot of work. The older we get, the more likely we are to suffer ailments that will hamper everything we want to do, and need to do. My elderly parents’ house is a two story. Not long ago, my mother fell nearly the whole way down the stairs. She’s very fortunate that she didn’t get seriously hurt. That’s only the beginning of the tale of all the things that could go wrong with them while working on a large home place. My father fell off a ladder while trimming a tree. He broke his arm and was in a great deal of pain for a long time. I don’t want any more accidents to happen to my parents. They’ve worked so hard. They deserve a good life without all this work so now it should be the time to relax and enjoy life.

My mother said it best, “I don’t want to wait until one of us is seriously ill, or passes before we make this decision. Don’t you think we’re being wise on that, Karen?” What could I say? I am very happy that they are the ones making these decisions. I am very glad it won’t be a burden that I’ll have to carry one day.

I’ve interview so many seniors who waited until it was too late. Falls off of ladders, down stair cases, accidents that happened when no one was around – all of these are far too common for many seniors who stay in their big homes. For those with dementia, the dangers get far greater. Some forget they’ve left something on the stove, or forget they already took their meds for the day. Some begin to wander or forget where they are while driving in their own neighborhoods. For the family of these elders, it’s a nightmare waiting to happen.

For the widow, or widower, the isolation can be devastating. Depression is a common ailment for those who live alone. So many people live far away from their aging loved ones. For them, there’s no way to keep a good eye on what’s happening with their parents so they can prevent problems become crises.
For many seniors, moving to a retirement community or assisted living can be a new lease on life. They make new friends. They engage is fun activities. Like one senior told me, “My old neighborhood had become a desert for company. Here’s I have friends all around me and I feel better than I had in years.”

I am so glad I have wise parents, who are taking control of their future. Perhaps it’s time for your own family to have a family meeting to discuss and plan for your aging parents’ long-term needs. Find out what your own parents want, before a crisis. It will get them to thinking and hopefully planning for themselves sooner rather than later.


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About The Author: Karen Everett Watson is a Gerontologist and has over 10 years experience as a Journalist. Karen has spent 4 years in the senior community interviewing retirement community residents and wrtites articles for, a comprehensive Assisted Living online directory, trusted by seniors and families. also provides free placement services to help Seniors and their families find assisted living based on the senior’s care needs, family’s budget and location.