Question: Dear Luise: My grown children have caused me nothing but grief. One of them cheated me out of a big chunk of my retirement savings. Painful as it is, I think I had better try to avoid any further dealings with them. That will mean I have no family at all. I’m 70 years old. How do I handle end of life issues? I’m healthy now but I worry what will become of me. If I should happened to die tomorrow my scammer son will inherit what is left of my life savings. I am really unhappy with either of my sons getting any more from me. After the money scam, I ended up living far from home and I haven’t made new friends here yet. I suffer everyday over what my children have become. They are both alcoholics and I think that is what has brought out the worst in them. G.
Answer: Dear G. When I was in my 70’s, I faced a similar situation. I had two sons but one moved to Hawaii, (I live in Washington State), and the other died shortly after that of sleep apnea when he was only 52. My surviving son now spends about five months a year in a little place he bought close to me, but I had no way of knowing that would happen.
I did some research and moved to a very active Senior Community. Many of them are just money-makers and are full of sick people waiting to die but this one is non-profit and has been here for over forty years. Non-profit means, at least to me, that we can volunteer our heads off and we do. Last year we put in over 38,000 hours voluntarily serving our own community. To me, that makes it feel like “family” but it’s not a requirement. Some residents just want to play and mellow out and that’s fine. Many people retire here when they are perfectly healthy and have a great time making new friends and doing all kinds of volunteer work while also being royally entertained. Some residents write up a will that leaves what remains of their estate to the community, to help others less fortunate. That kind of option might appeal to you.
I’m not suggesting you come to my retirement community but I would like you to use it as a benchmark, if you decide to look around. You can learn about it by going to our web site: http://www.warmbeach.org/ I’ve been here since I was 73, which is nine years and obviously I just love it.
I don’t think there is anything else you can do but distance yourself from your sons. Please consider coming over to my web-Forum that focuses on issues with adult children: http://www.motherinlawsunite/com
You gave them life and you gave them your best. What they do with that gift is about them, not you. There is no reason to become a doormat and be driven to a poverty level when your love isn’t returned. We give parenting our best shot but life offers us a great deal beyond that role. Lots of people who have never had children lead happy, full and useful lives. Perhaps, for you, the best is yet to come! Blessings, Luise