Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Stages of Life
We just found out Mom is no longer supposed to drive. She has been waiting for cateract surgery which has gotten delayed several times as her surgeon was going through "issues". Now she has a different surgeon and is likely to get surgery on both eyes (a few weeks apart) in September. On the upside she won't have to wear glasses after that. Also, thanks to our healthcare system in Canada she won't have to pay for it. Both major wins. On the downside she found out on Friday that she shouldn't be driving any longer as her vision has deteriorated again. Prior to this her vision was sufficient that they asked her not to night drive but she should be fine for daytime driving.
At age 75 she likely will only drive for a couple more years anway. At age 80 in Canada you usually have to get a medical from your Dr as well as retake a driving test so a lot of seniors tend to give it up at that point. We have had several discussions about the fact that her really old car (20 years) could die at any moment or need very expensive repairs and it just wouldn't be worth it to pay out the money for that. She does not have sufficient funds to replace the vehicle. This day, fortunately has been planned for.
I often refer to the condo that Mom lives in as Mom's condo. It really is our condo that we paid for out of funds when we sold our home in Alberta as we bought our home and a year later a condo for Mom to live in and also as a long-term investment. Fortunately, we bought at a market low and the value of the condo has gone up 35% in the past 4 years since we bought it, one of our best performing investments. She pays rent although it is quite a bit lower than market value. She is a low income senior and we live in a high rent town so we decided to make the investment to ensure she had a stable long-term place to live. The longer she can live on her own versus going into a retirement living situation the cheaper it will be both for her and for us if she can't make ends meet. The condo we bought is 3 blocks from our house, one block from a grocery store, pharmacy and gas station with a convenience store. Although our town has a transit system it is not very good but fortunately things are so close together that cabs are extremely inexpensive at a maximum $15 to get just about anywhere.
Mom and I hang out quite often, usually 2-3 times a week we shop together and Saturday mornings we usually go thrifting or garage saling. Our life will not have to change that much with her not driving. Decisions will have to be made with her vehicle but at this time that is a bit premature - she can make that decision after she has her surgery, unless she decides sooner. Having a vehicle is a costly choice but one that has given her freedom to do as she wishes. Now she has to plan things out, a definite change. Even more fortunate is the fact that we live so close together and that we are self employed making it much easier for me to adjust my schedule to get her to appointments.
Obviously when we travel/are away we will have to plan how she is going to get around. She can walk to the grocery store or take cabs or I can have my friend check in on her/take her to appointments if need be.
As she said the other day, "getting old sucks" but it will happen to all of us. I don't really consider age 75 old because she still has every one of her marbles, just that health becomes such a factor after a certain age. We are super fortunate that due to planning this life transition will be much easier than some. Have you thought about your life stages?