Staying out here with my mother has made me sharply aware of two great gifts she has given to her children in the last 10 years:
- She gave up her driver’s license voluntarily. It was relatively easy for her because she lives in a city with great public transportation and the cost of housing a car was getting onerous. But it could have been otherwise. We’d noticed that she was becoming indecisive about turns, slowing down way ahead of intersections, and having trouble deciphering signs. We didn’t even have to bribe her – the way my aunt bribed my grandfather, swapping her gold piece that he’d always coveted for his driver’s license.
- She found her own progressive living arrangement in a retirement apartment building that already provides lots of services to her and can provide increasingly more as she needs them. I have friends who are worrying about the possibility of their mothers becoming no longer able to be independent – and then what do they do? Mom found a place she likes very much – she can walk down to the Pike Place Market to shop for fresh food almost daily and then ride the escalators in the Convention Center up the hill to get back home. This place gives her exactly as much privacy as she desires. If she starts feeling lonely, there are all sorts of activities where she can meet people — even some of like political views. But right now she can spend as much time by herself as she desires.
I’m part of the baby boom generation. Whenever we need something, there’s lots of competition. Maybe we should start thinking about how we can make our arrangements instead of leaving it up to our kids to make us face the music.