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Old 02-04-2015, 07:11 AM
Location: Connecticut
26,333 posts, read 42,304,319 times
Reputation: 7824


Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
So a parent gets Alzheimer's RIGHT IN THE SAME TOWN. Do you think that's not also going to be "work" for the child? If you love someone, you not only do what's necessary when needed (cheerfully), but you want that person to be happy, especially with time running out.

But children have been telling parents what to do (the tail wagging the dog) for a couple of generations now, so it's not surprising! Run away, parents... It's your life!
It is a LOT easier to deal with when you are close by than when you are a thousand miles apart. No one can deny that. Jay

Old 02-04-2015, 07:23 AM
7,801 posts, read 4,391,333 times
Reputation: 11594
We're now a mobile society. That's just how it is. Why is it okay when the younger generation chooses to move across the country -- or even the world -- but not the older generation? With Skype and all the other technology, it's not like you're out of touch.

I agree that life and people were better back when we all stayed put, but it's over now.

And I see way too many grandparents being taken advantage of. Raise your own kids!
Old 02-04-2015, 07:52 AM
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,522 posts, read 8,765,146 times
Reputation: 12215
You want them to give you the house?
Old 02-04-2015, 08:52 AM
Location: Florida
19,810 posts, read 19,905,205 times
Reputation: 23215
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
We get together often, even in the winter. Sometimes it is every week, sometimes every other week.
So, for one or maybe two days out of every 14, they should spend not only those two, but the other 12 by themselves, shoveling snow, driving on bad roads, worrying about the roof leaking or the furnace going out, keeping a big house with empty bedrooms clean and waiting for spring and summer.
Yeah! That sounds like the way to spend 6 months out of the year for who knows how many years, to me!
Old 02-04-2015, 08:52 AM
Location: Connecticut is my adopted home.
2,277 posts, read 3,079,972 times
Reputation: 7018
We don't have children but even if we did, I can tell you that I doubt that we would change a thing.

A friend of mine has three children. The middle child moved to Texas, the oldest overseas, the youngest to the upper midwest all for jobs and opportunity. At one point my brother was in Georgia, a sister in Colorado, I was in AK, all for jobs and opportunity. One of my sister's two children is in California. My brother's eldest son is in Georgia, the other in New York. I have example after example of this, in fact most people I know have family scattered to the four winds.

I think the people that are complaining the most about this have had kith and kin close all their lives. If you love your lovely family consider yourself lucky on both counts: 1) That you have a good loving family and 2) that they have been around for all those years. Quit seeing the glass as half full and give thanks for all those years that you've had together and instead of being angry (disguised as concern) and give them your blessing. Let them have the time to engage in an alternative vision of their lives, one chosen by them and not fate (even good fate) even though it might hurt your feelings or be an unfathomable choice to you.

Trust me, even with the most engaging hobbies, winter without an occupation driving you becomes endless. At 50/60 something, normal healthy people really don't want to sit around waiting for that twice a month visit, no matter how cherished, with reasonably only 20-30 years of life left (maybe not all of them healthy years) if they are lucky. And yes stuff happens. If they have been thus far trustworthy and responsible, let them worry about their future.

IMO, the glass has been more than half full for many years and now that there will be a bit of loss, the hurt and disappointment is being channelled into worry, fret and blame. Not a good way to maintain family ties. These people are snow birding not moving away permanently for crying out loud. Let them go and be happy for them.

Last edited by AK-Cathy; 02-04-2015 at 09:28 AM..
Old 02-04-2015, 09:09 AM
Location: Loudon, TN
5,785 posts, read 4,838,667 times
Reputation: 19458
Okay, let's go back to your initial question OP. Why do people do this when they retire? Why do they snowbird?

1. The weather is too cold up north for them to be comfortable for several months out of the year.

2. They wish to spend time with their contemporaries. People whom they can share THEIR INTERESTS with. Not spend time sitting out in the cold bleachers watching yet another boring soccer match between six-year-olds.

3. They wish to spend some time doing activities designed for people with their capabilities, in a place that is new and exciting to them.

4. The weather.

5. They want a chance to be relieved of the constant weekly expectations their children have of them.

6. The weather.

7. Financially they feel that they can afford to have a little fun before they are too old.

8. The weather.

9. They're tired of people trying to run their life.

10. Last but not least.....THE WEATHER.

Just lay off them and let them do their thing. There is no need for you to visit them in Florida more than once. Maybe their first winter you could take your kids for a Disney/ beach vacation (not sitting in around in an old folks community) on winter break, and that would be the extent of your winter visits. After that they can come home to you guys the following Christmas. After that just let life happen. You don't need to plan now for the eventualities of their old age decline.

If all goes according to the usual occurrence that I see, (I live in a retirement community) they will be blissfully happy in their winter home and come back to you every year invigorated and loving life more than ever. You will all have wonderful summers when the kids are out of school and the grands can enjoy spending time with them. In 15 years, maybe when one of them passes away suddenly, the other will move back to where you are and probably go into an IL facility. Or they may need one-time help to move them home. That's really not a lot to ask in exchange for their happiness for 15 years of their lives.

It inevitably happens that adult children are stuck with the task of clearing out a home and figuring out how to best attend to the needs of their elderly parent. I live that life right now with my MIL. If it's inconvenient, I'm sorry, but she cared for her children for 18 years, and now that she needs help, we care for her. In between childhood and extreme old age are the times when one can lead the life they choose. Why not just let them do that???
Old 02-04-2015, 09:55 AM
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,172,097 times
Reputation: 22373
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
I really wish people here would stop trying to make me the villain in this. Read what I have posted before making nasty snap judgments. The only thing you are right about here is that they are related to DW (I won't say how) and that the couple is in good shape physically. Judging from the rest, I wonder if you did read my posts. DW is the one who does not want to go down there but if she wanted to go, I would because I value family a lot. Still it would be a burden to us since we have limited time and money for vacations and frankly staying in a retirement community is not our idea of fun.

You are also wrong in how often we see these people. We get together often, even in the winter. Sometimes it is every week, sometimes every other week. And they do NOT pay for us. We host each other and when we go out we each pay our own way. I also don't really care that they plan to sell their home but they have lived there for over 35 years and say they love it a lot. I am just concerned that they are going to go into a condo and find it not to their liking. I can't imagine them liking the rules or the way the place is maintained and giving up one of their passions which is gardening. Now that they have more free time, I am not sure how they will be filling it but that really is the least of my concerns.

And maybe you don't see your grandkids a lot but in my family and with these people we do. We go to kids sporting events all the time. When the kids need help with homework their grandfather is the one they turn to for it. And maybe to you 6 months is not a lot of time but that is half of the year and it is a long time and a lot to miss. Sorry you disagree but you can miss a lot in that amount of time. Jay
To be frank, JayCT, it is your attitude about the move that made me question your intentions.

And you are still displaying that attitude in this post.

I would also like to say - I am sure you are a good person who genuinely cares about the snowbird folks, but you are taking a very paternalistic approach. You are questioning their good judgement? You have said that numerous times. Why do you feel you are in the position - or have the right? - to question their good judgement? Or their reasons overall for wanting to be in a warm climate 1/2 the year?

And why is it your business how "happy" they will be when they give up gardening?

Have you ever considered that the grandparents may appear to be patient and are fine with such things as helping out with homework but they actually would love to have a break from all the child-centric interactions?

There would certainly be nothing wrong with it if they are wanting some space. You make it sound like they are being selfish and inconsiderate for wanting to do something different in the last decades of their lives. They already raised their children; maybe they are not as immersed in the roles of grandparents as you think they are - and I don't mean that to be something negative towards you or them. I often see adult children who have pegged their parents into the 'grandparent' role and assume that this is the center of their lives . . . but rarely are grandchildren the center of anyone's life. They are a part of life (and a treasured part for many folks).

Just seems you have relegated a particular "role" to these good folks . . . grandma and grandpa, who love to tinker around their large home and work in their garden . . . and go to ball games to support the grandchildren . . . when maybe they are envisioning something quite different -- for several months of the year. Maybe they are hoping for a little romance! Walks on the beach or sailing on a lake! Drinks on the deck with other retired folks - and no kids around. Maybe they want to rediscover spontaneous sex at 3 pm in the afternoon when they typically are worried about kids walking in unannounced!!! WHO KNOWS!!!

They may be your inlaws and your kids' grandparents, but they are still a couple -- and they are looking at the last years of their lives together as healthy individuals. None of us knows what is down the road with our health. They haven't moved away. They just want a change for several months out of the year.

They may try it and hate it.

But please . . . stop with the paternalistic overwrought criticism and negativity. If someone asks you WHY the grandparents are going to play snowbird several months out of the year . . . your reply should be . . . "Why don't you ask them?" and if that doesn't satisfy them . . . "Maybe they need a little fun before they get too old to enjoy their lives."
Old 02-04-2015, 10:23 AM
Location: St. George, Utah
756 posts, read 884,152 times
Reputation: 1971
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
Boy my question really has struck some raw nerves. It makes me wonder why some people are responding so nastily. AS I said I am not sticking my nose in this. I was asked my opinion once, gave it once and unless asked again (which is a good possibility) I will say nothing.

I was raised in a family where if you had kids, you always did as much as you could for them. Not to say that you gave up your entire life but you did what you could. Quite frankly I believe that if you don't believe this, you should not even have kids. My father did a lot for my kids and as a result he had a wonderfully close loving relationship with them. I have an unmarried elderly aunt who is the same way and my kids still have a close relationship with her. They are her pride and joy. They even go out of their way to visit or call her regularly in their busy lives. On DW's side is my MIL who is very selfish. She never talks to my kids or any of her grandchildren because they don't fit into her life. If they pick up the phone when she calls she never talks to them, just says "Where is your mother?" How DW and her siblings turned out to be so giving is a miracle given the example she set. Then again they clearly saw her flaws and deliberately did the opposite. And why my kids still call her is also beyond me. It might be the example my father and aunt set.

The other thing that makes me wonder is that the family members I wrote about had the same situation we did. One side was close and loving and the other distant and selfish. They always commented how grateful they were to have at least one grandparent close to their kids. Now they are doing the same thing as the parent who is not close. I wonder if they realize this? Do they really think they can have a close relationship with their grandkids from over a thousand miles away or 6 months a year. What events in their grandkids lives are they going to miss (first words, first days of school, first baseball game, etc.)? If there was a chance of their kids moving it would be one thing but as I said both are pretty well settled where they are nearby. There is always a chance but that is kind of remote at this point. Jay
Wow, Jay, you are really upset about this and churning about it. It sounds like up until now you have approved of these family members performances as parents. So them wanting to do something for themselves, while still spending half the year with family, changes all of that for you?

You use the word "fear" a few times in your posts.

Do you think the time and energy you are spending horrible-izing this decision/circumstance could better be spent looking for ways to be sure that the relationship as it has been (close and positive) can best be maintained, and perhaps even appreciating the fact that they will be "home" half the year?

I read very few "nasty" posts here. Different people are...you know...different. You asked for opinions and you got a range of them, most of them trying to help you understand the situation from another point of view, which you seem unwilling to entertain, in order to help you feel better, less hurt by, and less frightened of this situation.

Family is absolutely first with me. That doesn't mean I will always need to be within yards of my children. It doesn't mean I will witness every milestone with my future grandchildren, much as I would like to. It DOES mean I will celebrate each one, whether from afar or from "home" with them, wherever that may be. Closeness with my kids doesn't necessarily mean that I'm always going to be physically close to them.

It is important for me to maintain a sense of "home" and "togetherness" for my children, which is one reason our decision-making process looking toward retirement has been so complicated. This is my children's home; it is not really mine and never has been. On top of that I really hate the weather. It affects my mood and it physically hurts. For whoever said upthread that going about your daily routine is no different in the southern warm weather than the northern cold. Ha. Hogwash. It is all the difference, for me. Not for everyone, but for me.

Jay, it doesn't seem like anything anyone has posted here is getting through to you. You have decided that there is one way to be a good parent and it means a lifetime of sacrificing personal enjoyment, if that's what it takes, in order to constantly be within minutes of family. They have found what seems to be a perfect compromise.

I hope you can at least stop judging them and suddenly thinking they are "cold and distant" just because they are enjoying their time in the sun. Your posts are making me so sad for everyone involved. You do your thing, let them do theirs, and love them as you always have. sheesh.
Old 02-04-2015, 10:23 AM
Location: too far from the sea
19,842 posts, read 18,861,423 times
Reputation: 33748
I am closing this thread as it is just another bashing of an individual who has asked a question. Not much informative help has been offered. Kudos to the few who have taken a balanced stance, shame on those who accused the OP of wanting to take their house or accusing him of wanting them merely as babysitters.
my posts as moderator will be in red. Moderator: Health&Wellness~Genealogy. The Rules--read here>>> TOS. If someone attacks you, do not reply. Hit REPORT.
Old 02-04-2015, 02:28 PM
Location: Connecticut
26,333 posts, read 42,304,319 times
Reputation: 7824
Default One Final Post

Since this thread has been closed down I am allowing myself one final post to inform you of the outcome of all of this. The couple has decided to buy a home in Florida but they will not be living there 6 months a year as they once were thinking. Their plan is to go down for the winter, maybe 2 or 3 months and then on occasion for a week or two here and there. They have decided that they cannot be away from family for that long of a time and would much prefer to be up north near their children and family most of the time. They are still likely going to be selling their home and buying a condo nearby.

I will say that I am sorry some of you wrongly thought I had some sort of secret agenda here or that my post was nasty or mean. Sometimes it is hard to get the jest of what people are saying on something that is typed. I was merely trying to see both sides of a situation in order to be knowledgeable when asked for an opinion. So you know I was asked and told them the concerns their kids and we had. I did say it was their decision what to do. I think they realized that they really weren't going to save much by living there for such a long time. Needless to say we are all relieved.

Also note that we are now dealing with a situation with my MIL. She seems to be getting very forgetful. We noticed in the last few days she is not remembering things told to her several times. Her husband is concerned. Looks like we will have to deal with her situation sooner than expected. This is what we feared would happen. It is not going to be easy to deal with this from 1,500 miles away. Again to those of you who answered my questions, I thank you. Jay
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