Taking a break from a tough week to go to the museum with Ben and Belinda.

My wife and my son decided I needed a break from parent and sibling drama and could use a ration of calmness so my little nuclear family decided they would take me to the Blanton Museum to get a second look at 

The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip

Once again the prints were exciting to look at. I have a new appreciation for Joel Sternfeld. His work is beyond great; especially when seen in its 40 by 50 inch, printed glory. 

We each set our own pace through the gallery and then walked together through the contemporary galleries on the second floor. 

After a bout of art we headed over to our favorite Chinese food restaurant and had lunch. We've been taking Ben there since he was three years old and everyone called him by name when we walked in. I've worked on a project for one of my favorite law firms this afternoon.

On a photographic note: the Sigma 60mm f2.8 DN showed up three days after the first promised delivery date and it's as good as I remember. The files are bright and sassy and the focal length is great for my point of view. A nice bargain for $240.

On an off topic note: Does anyone have a successful strategy for getting elder parents to give up the single family dwelling and move (willingly) into assisted living? If so, the suggestion might be worth its weight in gold... I could shoot more if I worried less...


ga6 said...

With mine it took the advice of another family member the same age or older than my parents...Good luck, wait til you see the bills...

James Weekes said...

As someone who has seen my wife, and friends struggle with the angst of telling parents that it's time for a downsize, and as someone at the age where we have to start thinking about the very same thing (I am 71), I can say for certain that it is difficult. I would guess that the most important thing is to let the parents see different options from different places. Some will resonate more with them than others. The very best one around here, all really well done and planned seems like a prison to us. The second best one is open, lively and full of light. The requirement of a lot of these places is that both people be able to walk in when they buy/sign up. From there on you are taken care of.

I will hate to give up my garden of 25 years that is my second joy after photography, along with reading. But it is getting to be hard work for old joints. The place we are considering has houses/units that allow for a small garden.

Every situation is different, so find out what will most suit your parents and feel lucky that you probably have a lot of choices in your area.

eric erickson said...

Kirk, I have been down th AL road twice now and what I found is the parent will only go when ready and then only after some event which causes a long term hospital stay. I wish there was an easy answer for moving one to AL, but there is not unless the parent wisely sees that they would be better off. Unfortunately it never happened with me but both my mother and father in law eventually ended up in AL. We never stop being a parent and never stop being a child. It never ends, good luck. Eric

Bruce Bodine said...

Kirk having been down that road with my parents there are so many variables to consider. I had the most success talking to their family doctor and attorney to come up with a medically safe and legally sound plan to initiate the transition. However each family is unique and the needs and requirements always vary. If they do not have an attorney you may want to consult with an elder-care specialist for legal advice regarding their situation.

Edward Richards said...

No magic bullet on the nursing home move I know of. Wish I had one when I had to get my folks to make the move 15 years ago. The usual last straw is that they are in a setting where they have to drive to live, and driving has gotten too dangerous. If they have a trusted family physician - what a 1950s notion - the doc might be an ally on making the case about driving. If they are religious, the priest/minister would be a good contact. If the assisted living can be in the same area, you make the argument that will still be able to participate in the local activities and see their friends, especially it they are active in church or some civic organization. This is harder if they are they point where they are the only ones left of their peer group.

Mostly it is either bullying or guilt over how much of a problem it is for you as the loving son to deal with them in the ancestral home.

Jim said...

There is no such thing as "willingly" Kirk. Both my mother and Diane's got moved unwillingly when they literally could no longer live on their own. I know it is emotionally difficult to let that scenario play out, to worry about them and what might happen but as long as they are capable of living on their own and want to, it is their choice.

The real problem you face is letting go of your angst over them. It involves a certain amount of letting go. In the end, you have no choice but to let go.

MikeR said...

What a tough situation. Sometimes, it takes a crisis to stimulate realistic thinking. My widowed aunt toughed it out into her 90's, when a broken hip forced the issue. As concerning and frustrating as it is, unless there are competence considerations, you just have to wait until they decide. (Do you have any siblings to share the load with you, by the way?)

Bill Bresler said...

Just went through that with my 87 year old MIL. She should have moved a couple of years back, however it has worked out well. Her place is brand-spanking new and she's happy as a clam. She had to reach the point where she was tired of trying to keep up her home, paying lots of people a lot of money to do the work. She could not be pushed. It had to be her decision. So that was our project for this year. Good luck, man. There's no easy way.

Dogster said...

I was watching this BBC program The History of China, and the host fella was at a street vendor book seller and he picked up a book that has been in print since 1250, the name was "How to Make Older People Happy" He opened the book and read; " leave them where they love with their things around them" (paraphrased) I loved it. That is what I want. I am getting close to being that old.

MO said...

Hi kirk

all my 4 grandparents show different scenarios with only one granma left. having scaled down 2 times ending at a nursing home a couple of years back. she took care of my grandpa after scaling down willingly once where he died from KOL. My second grandpa lived in my parents childhood home until he died of KOL to. he was taken care of by my other grandma to. then she scaled down once before she died. only my last living grandma ever ended up in a nursing home. Her body functions very well at 86 of age but her head suffers from dementia. but the common factor of them all was that changes came willingly if and when they came.

Im so lucky that have parents at 58 and 61 at the age of 40. Hoping that the next change is a some years into the future.

Like the photo of your boy, who now carries himself like a young man. that part of aging is a wonderful thing compared to the topic above witch is the hardest part of aging.

all the best Mads

Rufus said...

My experience echoes that of Bill Bresler. My mother moved to assisted living 18 months ago.

It turned out to be a positive process. The catalyst was a friend doing the same thing and finding that, far from being a part of the inexorable slide toward the end of life, it was a positive and life affirming thing to do.

Fear about the continued maintenance of the family home and what to do it anything broke, was replaced with the peace of mind of knowing it was all taken care of in the new place. Once she visited a few places and made some friends, it was a relatively easy decision. 18 months later she has new friends and a much more active social life, coupled with considerably fewer daily worries.

Anonymous said...

When I moved my mother into an AL facility, I told her if she wasn't happen she could move back into her old house. She adjusted to her new "home" in short order. I never intended to move her back to her old house, but psychologically it helped her make the transition. Every situation is different. Good luck with your decision. It's not easy becoming a caregiver.

Unknown said...

I have had friends that have had to make the decision and it was helpful if they had friends or church family that were in the same facility. It gives them the sense of home and family that we all need no matter what stage of life.

Rene said...


There is another alternative which is finding someone(s) who can move into their house and care for them. This presupposes there's enough room and your parents could accept someone. When my father-in-law developed dementia in his late eighties, my in-laws converted a study/office into a bedroom and we hired a live-in home health aide through an agency (that took care of all the insurance; payroll, tax, etc. issues) to help with his care. When he died, five years later the aide stayed on to care for my MIL who had just entered the beginning stages of dementia. One advantage, among the others, is that your parents get to stay in familiar surroundings with their possessions and surrounding community. Also, surprisingly, this option turned out to be less expensive (by tens of thousands per year) than any other option available to them. The trick is finding a good agency and good aides. We've been lucky as the main aide has stayed with us for over ten years now, but we went through a few people until finding the right one. Feel free to contact me if you want more details.

Fred said...

I don't have a strategy for getting a parent to want to move into assisted living. My dad decided on his own. I think not driving anymore and living in the suburbs had something to do with it. What I would advise is that if your parents do decide to move into assisted living that their apartment have an accessible shower and not a tub in the bathroom. I speak from experience.

Dave said...

You might want to consider getting an aging consultant to talk with your parents and look over their entire landscape of options... We used someone that is a member of National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers a few years ago and found out about a bunch of options through someone that does it all the time.
best of luck

Paul Gero said...

Sorry to hear you're facing this .... we were lucky...after my Dad died it took just a bit of convincing to get my Mom to sell the old homestead and move into assisted living.

She LOVES it and I suspect she wished she had done it two years sooner.

Since she's 87, and dealing with lung issues (oxygen 24/7) we are so relieved....we also believe that it has added five years of quality living to her life and sure saved us kids from a lot of worry.

I wish there was some magic words to prescribe to help you, but if you can get them to imagine how much easier it will make their life, it might help them make the change that is going to happen, sooner or later.

Good luck, and prayers sent to you and your family.


Marvin G. Van Drunen said...

A photography question. Is the print Belinda is studying mounted behind glass or is it a canvas print? I love that look. Marvin Van Drunen

Bonaventura said...


I went through this with my mother. I'm sure that you recognize what a hard thing this is for your parents. As others have noted above, the parent needs to make the decision or have the decision made for them by circumstances. The former is better. My mother probably waited too long to go into independent living. She was a fair way along the dementia curve by then. Nevertheless, she made her own decision, and it turned out to be a good experience for her. I think that what tipped her into a decision to do it was going to see a local facility that was very nice and where she knew one or two folks. During the visit 3 other friends who, unbeknownst to her, also lived there stopped to say hello and asked if she was moving in. Rufus made the same point above. Also, as we spoiled baby boomers become consumers of these services, the facilities are getting really nice, and the care very good. Still, you will need to be attentive and be an advocate for them.

Recognize that this move will not remove all worries and that you will have ups and downs. It wears on you in ways that are sometimes difficult to recognize in the moment. Give yourself a lot of slack.

HR said...

I saw your post about the Sigma 60mm f2.8 DN for m4/3 a few days ago so yesterday when I happened to be in a Yodobashi Camera in Tokyo I took a look at it. Their price is about $150, although at some places in Japan it is about $135. All new. My point is not to gloat that it is a lot cheaper here in Japan, but just wondering about why there is such a big difference in selling price? I have noticed over the years that many kinds of camera gear will be a similar price in the States, but some will be quite a bit more than in the States and others will be quite a bit less. I suppose it depends a lot on what the local demand seems to be.

I certainly don't need another m4/3 lens, but this one is tempting because of all the good things I have read about it and the low price for it here.

Yoram Nevo said...

Regarding elder parents -
From my experience with both my parents (my father now deceased) it was best for them to stay in their own home which they loved dearly.
If your parents love their home and attached to it don't try to make them leave. Try to make every possible effort to enable them to stay in their home. Of course this may require hiring a helping person, that, eventually will have to stay in the home for 24 hours a day.
But you should add help only when this is required. Let them do by themselves anything they can still do alone. For example - maybe at start they only need help for 3 hours twice a week.
You should check how much help you/they are entitled to get from social security in your country. Also inquire regarding any possible organization that is giving help for such situations.
Don't hesitate to look and ask for help and support!

Best wishes -