January 26, 2014
Elder Parents & Life in the 90s: Let's Ask Craigslist
A friend has fiercely independent nonagenarian parents. His 98-year old father is the caregiver to his 92-year old mother, but now (according to their children, not them) he could use a hand with cooking and driving. So their devoted offspring got together and posted an ad on Craigslist: "Needed: Live-in aide/driver for elderly couple."
Tasks would include dressing, daily walks, and of course, the potential caregiver would have to have impeccable references, a good driving record, the ability to merge right in and work for a couple married 71 years (no easy feat), availability to sleep over and oversee a daily housekeeper.
The Craigslist ad went unanswered until yesterday, when a single and priceless response came it. Read on ...
"Hi, I have a very bizarre idea, and I'm a little embarrassed answering this ad, because it proposes a strange idea even to myself. If you would like to meet or call me, let me know. (Local references can vouch for my legitimacy.)
"I live in Westchester (N.Y.) and have parents who live in Syracuse (upstate N.Y.); dad is 92, (still drives) and mom is 87. They are just beginning to think they are OLD. (In your ad, when you say "elderly," how old are your parents, by the way?)
"My 58-year old sister, who has a Masters Degree in special ed, lives 10 miles from my parents in Syracuse. Her job status is in flux at the moment, so she could move to Westchester, too.
"I was trolling Craigslist under part-time jobs, looking for something to do because I am bored ... my youngest is in college and I don't work. My parents missed watching my kids grow up, so I'd love if they lived nearby.
"How big is your parents' home? How many bathrooms does it have? Could it accommodate an additional three people living there?
"My mom loves to cook; her blintzes are the best, her cookies (she still uses real butter) are addictive, but her brisket is only so-so. My dad is a World War II vet.
"Please consider having my sister move in to be the person who technically sleeps overnight, but could my parents move in, too? They could do the cooking, companionship, some driving, etc. We can figure out the money situation if this works out.
"My sister and parents haven't actually lived together in 40 years ... and I'm wondering if they could even do it. Or would they be interested in doing it? In any event, would your parents want their home 'invaded' by my family?
"Thank you for your consideration.
Another Person With an Elder Parent Dilemma Situation"
It didn't take long for my friend and his siblings to make their decision: having another family move into their elderly parents' home would not make life in the 90's easier. Especially if the 87-year old mother from Syracuse can't even make a good brisket ... although, admit it ... those blintzes are tempting.
Sound like an interesting proposal? Feel free to take first dibs.
In the meantime, we can't help but embrace the Craigslist responder for her straight-out-there-moxie to get her sister and parents back together. Under someone else's roof.
Even if the references are impeccable.