Takeaways

Dearie:  Helping to care for grandchildren is special indeed and builds a life-long relationship.  While caregiving, to either the young or the old, it is important to take care of yourself; to learn what you need and balance family time with activities that are just for you.  The choice to move to be near family may not always be the best choice for everyone.  It means uprooting yourself from everything that is known and familiar and it may be unrealistic to believe that being with your children and grandchildren will always be fully satisfying and perfect. 

Barbara:  Retirement and moving to be with family are two enormous life changes.   Adapting to these changes means having to work a little harder to reach out, building on your experience and strengths.  It is not starting from scratch.  Sometimes it is easy to make excuses to not get involved with others or activities, but the risk is ending up being alone and depressed.   I hear a lot of interest on your part.  You mention the neighbors – what is wrong with having friends of a different age?  You say there are community events, but no newspaper – how do others hear about these events?  Are they posted on a bulletin board at the local grocery store or library?  What do you hear at the Saturday morning soccer games?  And can the senior center offer transportation?  Do they have a local friendly visitor program? 

Inclement weather is certainly a difficulty, and perhaps wintertime is a time to use your internal resources – your strengths – of having learned to be alone.  Is this time to read, take an on-line computer course, take long walks in the snow.  Video-chatting and social media might be a way to keep up with others.  It’s not perfect, but it is staying in touch when weather and distance is a problem. 

Your local Area Agency on Aging has information about programs, services and resources, especially in rural areas, including meals on wheels, transportation and perhaps volunteer opportunities.  Here’s the link  https://www.n4a.org/